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SOLD: Page From the Gutenberg Bible

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Page From the Gutenberg Bible

This is one you better buy before Rick takes it for his personal collection! This item was created by one of the most important inventions in the civilization of man, the first printing press. This is a page from The Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed in the West with moveable metal type. Named after its creator, Johannes Gutenberg, the bibles were completed around 1455 in Mainz, Germany. The three-volume work was printed in Latin and in 42-line columns, though the original number of copies of this work is unknown, it is thought to be between 160-180. Of the 49 known surviving copies of Bible, only 21 are complete. There are perfect vellum copies in the U.S. Library of Congress, the French Bibliotheque Nationale, and the British Library. In the United States almost-complete texts are in the Huntington Library, Morgan Library, New York Public Library, as well as Harvard and Yale. The page for sale is a section of the Old Testament concerned with the purification of the ancient Temple, it is a single page (front and back) housed in a leather portfolio made for it in 1921.

Before its printing in 1454 or 1455, books were either copied by hand or printed from engraved wooden blocks, processes that could take months or years to complete. Johann Gutenberg invented a printing press that revolutionized the distribution of knowledge by making it possible to produce many copies of a work in a relatively short amount of time. Not much is know about Gutenberg, but he was born into an aristocratic family of skilled metal craftsmen. Knowledge of metals was useful to him as he developed his method of casting
printing type as he had to use a metal alloy that would melt at a low temperature but was strong enough to withstand being squeezed in a press. One of Gutenberg’s most radical ideas was to use a press for printing. Presses had been around for a long time, but used for other purposes, such as wine making. Research indicates that he may have used a crude sand-casting system in which the character is carved into the sand and the metal alloy is poured into this mold to create the type piece. This process would have been a long and laborious one because nearly 300 different pieces of type are used in the Bible, each one requiring its own sand-cast mold. The ink used by Gutenberg was also a new development. It was not really ink at all, more like a varnish or oil paint as the water-based inks used in previous manuscript production would not adhere to metal types. Gutenberg formulated an oil-based ink with the desired physical properties as well as a rich glossy appearance never before seen in printing. The printer’s ink was made up in batches, and was of course hand-made.

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Additional Information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 18 x 14 x 6 in

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