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Annotated Reference Guide to Collectible Books

Holy Bible

Any discussion on collecting the Holy Bible could easily span not just the length of this article, but could occupy the pages of entire volumes by itself, so I shall have to try and keep this short! Whatever your professed beliefs, The Holy Bible remains a marvelous artefact for the collector given its cultural history and significance. It is no surprise that the advent of printing and the spread of the Holy Bible coincide, and because of this happy circumstance, the most collectible of volumes are also always printed on the oldest and most well-respected of antiquarian printing presses. Take for example The Gutenberg Bible (the earliest recorded Bible as well as the first printed book) on the first Gutenberg book press. From this one invention sprang the entire history of printed material: from the invention of woodblock type, to letterpress, platen printing, and book binding!

The printing and production of the Holy Bible has also been a way for fine art presses to establish their reputation, as well as to create the Bibles as status symbols for early nobility. One such example would be the 1611 Holy Bible, printed by Robert Barker of London and ‘translated from the original tongues…by his majesty’s special commandment’. Whilst the original seventeenth century document would be work in the region of thousands (tens of thousands, perhaps), there is a lovingly produced exact reproduction of the original, printed in a limited edition homage – which can be brought for as little as four hundred dollars!

Another very fine collectible Holy Bible would be one of the Newbery miniature Holy Bibles, published in London 1780. Measuring only 1 ¾ X 1 ¼ inches in length ( ¾ inches thick) this miniature volume is a marvel to behold and a worthy (if diminutive) addition to any fine collection at only two or three thousand US dollars.

Of course, there are so many very fine productions of The Holy Bible that the collector is spoilt for what to choose! You could attempt to collect the oldest, or one from a fine printing house such as Nonesuch Press in London, or one of the many Holy Bibles with special characteristics. Consider an edition of the Jerusalem Bible, attractively bound in black with matching black slipcase, published by Doubleday as late as the 1970’s, but with full-plate illustrations by surrealist Salvador Dali, no less.

The Holy Bible. Robert Barker: London (1611). Limited Edition; 1500 copies; Full title-The Holy Bible, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New - Newly Trasnslated Out of the Originall Tongues and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised By His Majesties Speciall Comandement; Contains the OT book of Psalms and the NT book of John only

The Holy Bible. John Baskett: Oxford (1717). Large type edition-Vinegar Bible edition; black goatskin; orginal marble end-papers

Clarke, Laurence. A Compleat History of the Holy Bible. Printed for the author: London (1737). 2 volumes

Lewis, John. A Complete History Of The Several Translations Of The Holy Bible, And New Testament. H. Woodfall: London (1739).

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament and the New; with the Apocrypha. John Baskerville: Birmingham (1772). Second edition; 10 copper-engraved plates

The Bible in Miniature. E. Newbery: London (1780). A miniature abridgement of the Old and New Testaments

The Holy Bible. Hugh Gaine: New York (1792). Full title-The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments: translated out of the original tongues; and with the former translations diligently compared and revised

The Holy Bible. John Reeves: London (1802). 4 volumes; Full title-The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New: Translated out of the original tongues: and with the former translations Diligently compared and revised, By His Majesty's special Command

Scott, Thomas. The Holy Bible. William W Woodward: Philadelphia (1811). 5 volumes

The Columbian Family and Pulpit Bible. Joseph Teal: Boston (1822).

Dibdin, Thomas Frognall. An Introduction to the Knowledge of Rare and Valuable Editions of the Greek and Latin Classics. Harding and Lepard. and G.B. Whittaker: London (1827). Full Title-An Introduction to the Knowledge of Rare and Valuable Editions of the Greek and Latin Classics, Together with an Account of Polyglot Bibles, Polyglot Psalters, Hebrew Bibles, Greek Bibles and Greek Testaments; the Greek Fathers, and Latin Fathers; Fourth Edition; Large Paper Edition; 250 copies; Two volumes

Caunter, Hobart. Illustrations Of The Bible. Edward Churton: London (1835). 3 volumes; Illustrations by Westall and Martin

Taylor, Isaac. Boydell's Illustrations Of Holy Writ. Allan Bell And Co.: London (1835). Other author John Boydell

The Imperial Family Bible. Blackie and Son: Glasgow (1845).

Illuminated Bible. Harper and Bros.: New York (1846).

The Holy Bible. University Press: Oxford (1866).

Holy Bible: The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures. Bloch: Chicago (1891). Translated by Isaac Leeser with explanatory notes

The Holy Bible. R. H. Hinkley Company: Boston (1904). 14 volumes; 2000 copies

The Holy Bible. Ballantyne Press: London (1911). 3 volumes

The Holy Bible. Nonesuch Press: London (1924). 1250 copies; printed on Japon vellum paper; 5 volumes; copper engravings by Stephen Gooden

Browne, Lewis. Graphic Bible. Macmillan: New York (1928). Limited large paper edition; 250 copies signed by author; Illustrated by Mark Rothko

Willoughby, Harold R. The Coverdale Psalter and the Quatrocentenary of the Printed English Bible. Caxton Club: Chicago (1935). 225 copies;

Fish, Helen Dean. Animals of the Bible. Frederick A. Stokes Company: New York (1937). Illustrated by Dorothy Lathrop

A Leaf from the 1611 King James Bible. Grabhorn Press: San Francisco (1937). 300 copies printed for the Book Club of California

Bates, Ernest Sutherland. The Bible Designed To Be Read As Literature. William Heinemann: London (1937). Printed on India paper by Carl Ueberreuter at Vienna, Austria; Introduction by Laurence Binyon

Goodspeed, Edgar. The Complete Bible. Univ of Chicago Press (1939). Full title-The Complete Bible: An American Translation: The Old Testament, The Apocrypha, and the New Testament; Translated by Edgar Goodspeed and J.M. Powis Smith; Forward by Edgar Goodspeed

The Interpreter's Bible. Abingdon-Cokesbury Press: New York (1952). 12 volumes; Full title-The Interpreter's Bible: the Holy Scriptures in the King James and Revised Standard Versions; Commentary Editor George Arthur Buttrick

The Holkham Bible Picture Book. Dropmore Press: London (1954). 100 copies; Second edition; Printed on hand-made vellum; Edited by W.O. Hassall

Tuchman, Barbara W. Bible and Sword. New York University (1956).

Blake, William. William Blake's Illustrations To The Bible Catalogue. Trianon Press: London (1957). 506 copies; Compiled by Geoffrey Keynes; Introduction by George Goyder

Norman, Don Cleveland. The 500th Anniversay Pictorial Census of the Gutenberg Bible. Coverdale Press: Chicago (1961). Limited edition; 985 copies; Signed by the author

Jones, Alexander. Jerusalem Bible. Doubleday and Company: New York (1966). Other author J.R.R. Tolkien (Jonah translation); Edited by Alexander Jones

Hall, Basil. The Great Polyglot Bibles. The Book Club of California: San Francisco (1966). 400 copies; unsewn folded sheets in hand-made printed paper wraps, the work printed on rag paper in up to three colours

Ginsburg, Christian D. Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible. KTAV Publishing House Inc: New York (1966). Prolegomenon by Harry M. Orlinsky

The Gutenberg Bible. Brussel and Brussel (1968). 3 volumes

The Holy Bible. Arno Press: New York (1968). 2 volumes; Foreword by Frederick Brown Harris and Edward Gardiner Latch

Jerusalem Bible. Doubleday and Co, Inc.: New York (1970). Illustrations by Salvador Dali; Edited by Alexander Jones

Bucher, Francois. The Pamplona Bibles. Yale University Press: New Haven (1970). 2 volumes

The Living Bible. Abradale Press: New York (1971). Rembrandt Illustrated Edition; Illustrated by Rembrandt

Rubin, Reuven. Visions of the Bible. Abrams: New York (1972). 150 copies

Wikgren, Allen P. A Leaf from the First Edition of the First Complete Bible in English. The Book Club of California: San Francisco (1974). 425 copies

Walton, William. Belshazzar's Feast. Oxford University Press (1978). 350 copies; Forward by Michael Kennedy; Composed by William Walton; Full title-Belshazzar's Feast: for Baritone Solo, Mixed choir, and Orchestra: The Text Selected and Arranged from the Bible

Buttrick, George Arthur. The Interpreter's Bible. Abingdon Press: Nashville (1980). 12 volumes

Adomeit, Ruth E. An Original Leaf From the Newbery Bible 1780. Dawson's Book Shop: Los Angeles (1980). Numbered limited edition; 125 copies

Oakeshott, Walter. The Two Winchester Bibles. University Press: Oxford (1981). Limited edition; 1000 copies