Gutenberg Bible Census


Chronological History of the Bible  |  Clausen Books     Clausen Books on Facebook


Work In Progress  -  updated March 9, 2014

According to the Gutenberg Museum, 49 documented, partial or complete copies of the Gutenberg Bible
exist today, out of a possible 180 copies originally printed (150 on paper, 30 on vellum).

The first book printed in the western world from movable type on a printing press, by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, in an edition of about 180 copies;  It is the St. Jerome Vulgate, in Latin, (also known as the Gutenberg Bible and The 42-Line Bible) 42 lines to the page; 1,282 printed pages (641 leaves) in two volumes:  the Old Testament (O.T.) and New Testament (N.T.), unpaginated, with no title page.  The rubrics were by hand and the type was specifically designed to resemble a hand-written manuscript.  Controversy existed up until the 1960's as to whether or not it was the first printed book, with some scholars believing that the crude Constance Missal was older.  This view has been discredited by two distinguished German scholars and an American bibliographer, Allan H. Stevenson, who made his discovery in 1954 but didn't publish his findings until 1967.  In any case, Gutenberg's Vulgate Bible is certainly the first complete book printed with movable type in a large quantity.  Past scholars also disagreed as to whether Gutenberg actually invented movable type, with some Dutch scholars believing that Gutenberg stole the idea and possibly the type from a Dutch craftsman.  Five hundred and fifty years later it is a moot point, for it was Gutenberg and none other who caused a revolution in the production of books that has forever changed mankind.

“Johannes Santritter, in his 1483 edition of Eusebius’ Chronicon, notes in the entry for 1457:  For a method of printing  was devised in 1440 by the clever genius of Johann Gutenberg, a knight of Mainz.  In this time, it has been extended to almost all parts of the world. The whole of antiquity, being collected in small pieces of brass [type], is read by posterity in an infinite number of volumes.’  This is thought to be the earliest written acknowledgement of Gutenberg as the inventor of the moveable type printing process in the West.”  (from page 31, The Bible in The Armenian Tradition, by Vrej Nersessian, 2001, The British Library.)


2012 – single leaf offered for sale;  A. Edward Newton “Noble Leaf”, from Deuteronomy - 9th and 10th chapters in which tablets of stone containing the 10 commandments are given to the people of Israel for the second time.  $100,000.00.  see abebooks.com entry.

2007 – single leaf offered for sale; an A. Edward Newton “Noble Leaf” offering, with Doheny family provenance, exceeds $74000.00
1999 auction -  a single leaf sold for $26,000. ( my thanks to Joshua Weill, Bauman Rare Books, NYC, NY)
1998 - four leaves sold at auction for $85,000.
1995 - a single leaf containing the Ten Commandments (Exodus, 20:1-17) went to a private party for $75,000.00 (provided by Pia Oliver, Randall House Rare Books, Santa Barbara, California) .
1926 - In March, eight leaves (the entire Saint Paul Epistle to the Romans) of a Gutenberg from the library of Mrs. Hannah M. Standish, were sold at public auction in New York for $1,750, or $218 per page.
1847 - First Gutenberg Bible brought to the North American continent by the American book collector and philanthropist James Lenox; cost: $2,500; now in the New York Public Library.

Bibliography

American Book Prices Current (ABPC).

Antiquarian Bookman. Gutenberg Bible Census and Bible History. November 18, 1950.

Copinger, Walter A. Incunabula Biblica. (London) Bernard Quaritch, 1892.

Encyclopaedia Britannica. (London) 1910. Eleventh Edition; 1929 Fourteenth Edition

Geck, Elisabeth. Johannes Gutenberg; Vom Bleibuchstaben zum Computer. (Bad Godesberg) Inter Nationes, 1968; wraps.

The Gutenberg Bible.  Christies Auction House Catalogue, 1978.

Ing, Janet.  Johann Gutenberg and his Bible: A Historical Study. (NY) The Typophiles.  1988, First Edition.

Man, John.  Gutenberg: How One Man Remade the World With Words. (NY) MJF Books, 2002. HB, 312p., incl. index.

Norman, Don Cleveland. The 500th Anniversary Pictorial Census of the Gutenberg Bible.  (Chicago) Coverdale Press, 1961.

Rosenbach, A.S.W.  A Book Hunter’s Holiday.  (Boston) Houghton Mifflin, 1936

Thorpe, James. The Gutenberg Bible. (San Marino) Huntington Library. 1999, Second Edition.

Todd, William B. The Gutenberg Bible. New Evidence of the Original Printing. Hanes Foundation, 1982.

 


 

1950 (45 known copies)

2012 (49 known copies)

Austria

 

Vienna    - Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

 

Perfect Copy on Paper
two volumes, bound in red morocco.
Acquired early 19th Century, and formerly in the Court Library of Emperor Joseph II.  One of only two copies to contain the "tabula rubricarum" (index of rubrics)  on four leaves at the end. See Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich.

 

No Change

Belgium
 

 

Mons         -          Bibliotheque Publique

 

Imperfect copy on paper
Volume 1 only.  Lacks 104 leaves. Bound in brown calfskin, blind-stamped front and back covers; five raised bands on spine.  Willed to the City of Mons in 1934 by Canon Edmond Puissant.   Discovered in the Puissant Museum in Mons by Dr. Maurice A. Arnould, who became the Mons Librarian in 1950.  The Antiquarian Bookman of October 20, 1956 announced this previously unrecorded copy as the 47th known Gutenberg to be discovered.

 

Denmark

 

Copenhagen       -        Kongelige Bibliotek

Imperfect copy on paper
Vol II only. Lacks the first leaf.  Bound in 17th Century calf, with the device of the Gottorp Library. Acquired in 1749.

 

No change

 France

 

Paris         -        Bibliotheque Nationale

Perfect copy on Vellum
2 vols., formerly bound in contemporary leather over wooden boards.  Around 1788 it was rebound in red morocco, with the arms of Louis XVI stamped in gilt, in four volumes; Acquired from Dupre de Geneste of Mainz.

 

No Change

 

Paris        -           Bibliotheque Mazarin

Perfect Copy on Paper
2 vols., bound in 18th Century red morocco, attributed to Padeloup.  First recorded in the Mazarin Library by bibliographer Francois Guillaume de Bure in 1763.  The term Mazarin Bible was applied to all copies of the 42-line Bible, after the publicity attained upon de Bure's discovery.

 

No Change

 

Paris       -           Bibliotheque Nationale

Imperfect Copy on Paper
149 leaves lacking.  Unbound. Preserved in two red morocco slipcases.  Contains the earliest recorded date associated with the Gutenberg Bible.  At the end of both volumes are notes inscribed by the rubricator and binder, Henricus Cremer:  [Vol I...24 Aug 1456; Vol II...15 Aug 1456] 

 

No Change

 

Saint-Omer  -   Bibliotheque Communale

Imperfect Copy on Paper
Vol. I, only.  Lacking one leaf.  Bound in early 18th century calf.  Acquired by the Saint-Omer City Library from the Abbey of St. Bertin.

 

No Change

Germany

 

Goettigen       -       Universitaetsbibliothek

Perfect copy on Vellum
2 vols., bound in 16th Century white calf over wooden boards.  Acquired by the University Library of Goettingen in about 1810 from Wolfenbuettel Library.

 

No Change

 

Berlin     -     Preussische Staatsbibliothek

Imperfect copy on vellum
2 leaves lacking. 2 vols., bound in 17th century calf. Its presence in Berlin can be traced to 1752, but no information as to how the state acquired it.

 

No Change

 

Fulda            -            Landesbibliothek

Imperfect copy on vellum
Vol II only.  Bound in contemporary dark brown leather.  Given to Prince-Abbot Konstantin by the City of Fulda in 1723, but later returned to the State Library.

 

No Change (ownership)

(Note:  Don Cleveland Norman census and his 1961 publication identifies this as Volume I, not Vol II as 
printed in the 1950 AB Census.)

 

Leipzig        -        Universitaetsbibliothek

Imperfect copy on vellum
Lacking one leaf.  4 vols., bound in  contemporary stamped pigskin, by Johann Fogel Erfurt.  Known to belong to the Franciscan monastery, Langensalza, Saxony in 1461.  Unknown date of acquisition by Univ. Library of Leipzig.

 

No Change

 

Leipzig  -  Deutsches Museum fuer 
Buch und Schrift

Imperfect copy on vellum
lacking one leaf, and with other defects.  Restored by Pilinski (the pen-facsimile artist).  2 vols., rebound in wooden boards, morocco backs.  Discovered in a Spanish Library and exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1878.  Changed hands several more times before being purchased by the Saxon government in 1886. Missing at the time of the 1950 census, but not noted by AB

.

Moscow  -  Russian National Library

Confiscated by Soviet Army from Leipzig during WW II.  For years, as in the case of the Lomonosow Library copy, the USSR kept silent, denied knowledge of its whereabouts.

 

Frankfurt-am-Main      -      Stadtbibliothek

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols., rebound before 1950 in half vellum, gilt, with eagle of Frankfurt. Acquired by Frankfurt City Library in 1803 from the Church of the College of St. Leonhard in Frankfurt.

 

No Change

 

Leipzig     -      Universitaetsbibliothek

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols., bound in red morocco.  No record of details concerning acquisition.  Missing at the time of the 1950 Lazare census, but not noted by AB.

 

Moscow -    Lomonosow University Library

Confiscated by Soviet Army from Leipzig, Germany during WW II.  USSR denied knowledge of whereabouts for years.

 

Munich    -     Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols., bound in 18th century calf.  Has the tabula rubricarum (index of rubrics) printed on 4 leaves at the end.  Occurs in only one other copy -  at the National Bibliothek, Vienna.  Acquired in 1803 from the Benedictine Monastery at Andechs, near Munich.

 

No Change

 

Aschaffenburg     -       Stadtbibliothek

Imperfect Copy on paper
lacking 14 leaves. 2 vols., bound in contemporary wooden boards, recovered with sheepskin. Acquired by the Palace of Aschaffenburg in 1793 from the library of Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal, Elector of Mainz. Now in Hofbibliothek.

 

No Change

 

Mainz      -      Gutenburg-Museum

Imperfect copy on paper
Volume II only.  Bound in early 16th century stamped leather.  Acquired by the Mainz City Library in 1925 from the library of the Count of Solms-Laubach.

 

Solms-Laubach copy still possessed by the Museum


Shuckburgh copy (2 vols on paper) acquired for $1.8 million in March, 1978; formerly owned by Arthur Houghton.

 

Trier        -       Stadtbibliothek

Imperfect copy on paper
Vol I, only.  Bound in early 19th century calf.
Acquired by the Trier City Library in 1803 from a nearby Benedictine Monastery.  Its sister volume (II) was purchased by an agent for Arthur A. Houghton of Queenstown, Maryland in 1937, at a Sotheby's auction in London. Cost: 8,000 pounds.  Lilly Library, Indiana University owns Vol II

 

No Change

 

 

Stuttgart - Württembergische Landesbibliothek

 

Perfect copy on Paper - Two volumes
Formerly owned by  NY General Theological Seminary. Acquired at Christie's Auction, April, 1978.
  Buyer: Bernard Breslauer. Cost: $2.2 million.

 

 

Kirchengemeinde St. Marien

The Rendsburg Fragment –discovered in 1997 in the library of the Evangelical Lutheran parish of St. Marien, Rendsburg, Germany. Consists of 129 leaves from Volume 1. Originally bound in goat skin over oak boards with a chain attached to the rear board to prevent theft. The fragment underwent a two-year restoration and is now on permanent display at the Schloss Gottorf in Schleswig, Germany.  This is the 49th documented copy.

Great Britain

 

London        -       British Museum

Perfect copy on vellum
2 vols., rebound about 1769 in red morocco.
Originally in 3 vols. Bequeathed to the British Museum in 1846 by Thomas Grenville
.

 

No Change

 

London  -  Archiepiscopal Library Lambeth Palace

Imperfect copy on vellum
New Testament only, 190 leaves. Bound in brown morocco, mid-1880's.  Acquired by the Archepiscopal Library in 1610 from Archbishop Bancroft.

 

No change

 

Cambridge  -  Cambridge University Library

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols., bound in calf.  Gifted in 1934. Formerly owned by A.W. Young of London who bought it from Bernard Quaritch.  Quaritch bought it for 2,000 pounds in 1889 from the library of Lord Hopetoun.

 

No Change

 

Edinburgh   -   National Library of Scotland

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols., bound in russia leather, gilt tooled. Modern Scotch binding.  Presented to the library in 1781 by Daniel Stewart, Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

 

No Change

 

Eton    -     Eton College Library

Perfect paper copy
2 vols.  contemporary pigskin over wooden boards.  Blind-stamped by Johann Fogel of Erfurt...the only copy in a binding by Fogel which bears his name stamped in blind on the covers. John Fuller of Rosehill, Sussex presented this copy to Eton in 1841. 

 

No Change

 

London     -      British Museum

Perfect paper copy
2 vols.  bound for King George III in blue morocco.
Transferred to British Museum in 1829.

 

No Change

 

Manchester     -     John Rylands Library

Perfect paper copy
2 vols. bound in blue morocco, gilt-tooled with the arms of Lord Spencer, stamped in blind.  Binding attributed to Roger Payne.  Purchased by Spencer in 1814 for 80 pounds.  In 1892 the Rylands Library acquired the Spencer Library.

 

No Change

 

Oxford       -      Bodleian Library

Perfect paper copy
2 vols., blue morocco, gilt-tooled by Derome le Jeune with his label, dated 1785.  Purchased by Oxford in 1793 for 100 pounds, from the library of Cardinal Lomenie de Brienne.

 

No Change

 

London -  Private Library of Sir Philip Frere

Imperfect Copy on Paper
Vol. 1 only, 324 leaves, bound in contemporary calf over wooden boards.  After numerous owners, the volume was purchased in 1947 for 22000 British Pounds by Maggs Brothers of London and later became the property of Sir Philip Frere.

 

Acquired by Estelle Doheny of Los Angeles, October 1950, for the Edward Lauerence Doheny Memorial Library, Camarillo, Calif., however this was not noted in the November 1950 AB Gutenberg Bible Supplement, by Edward Lazare.

Italy

 

Rome -  Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Imperfect vellum copy
2 vols.  6 leaves lacking. bound in modern leather, blind-tooled.  Acquired by the Vatican in 1901 from the Barberini Library which had owned it since 1837.

 

No Change

 

Rome -  Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Imperfect paper copy
Vol 1 only, missing 9 leaves. bound circa 1850 in Russia leather. Acquired by the Vatican in 1921 from the library of Cavaliere Giovanni Francesco de Rossi, of Linz, near Vienna.

 

No Change
(Note:  1950 AB census identified this as Volume I,  presumably the Old Testament.  The 1957-58 census and subsequent publication by Don Cleveland Norman identifies this as Volume II, which is generally the New Testament designation.)

Japan

 

Tokyo      -      Keio University Library

Previously - The Frere-Doheny Copy
Imperfect Copy on Paper
Vol. 1 only, 324 leaves, bound in contemporary calf over wooden boards. Acquired on March 22, 1996 from the Maruzen Co. of Tokyo.  Maruzen had purchased the copy at a Christie's Auction on Oct 22, 1987 for the incredible sum of $4.9 million (see ABPC). Previously owned by the Doheny Memorial Library, Calif, and prior to that by Sir Philip Frere of the UK.  See their entries for the 1950 census. My thanks to Joshua Weill of Bauman Rare Books, NYC, for additional information and help.

 


Poland

 

Pelplin -  Bischoefliches Priester Seminar 

Imperfect paper copy

2 vols., 1 leaf lacking.  bound in contemporary stamped leather over wooden boards by Heinrich Coster.  Acquired by Pelplin in 1833 from the Benedictine Monastery of Loebau, West Prussia.

 

No Change

Portugal

 

Lisbon     -     Biblioteca Nacional

Perfect paper copy
2 vols. bound 1860 in red morocco with royal arms of Portugal, gilt gauffered edges.  Formerly in green morocco by Derome.  Acquired 1805 from Borel & Co. Booksellers of Lisbon.  Formerly owned by Cardinal Lomeine de Brienne.

 

No Change

Russia

 

 

Moscow  - Lomonosow University Library

Leipzig copy - 2 vols, paper
 confiscated by the Soviet Army from Leipzig's.
Universitaetsbibliothek toward the end of WWII
________________________________________________________________

 

Moscow  -  Russian National Library

Imperfect copy on vellum
Confiscated by Soviet Army from Leipzig’s- Deutsches Museum fuer 
Buch und Schrift during WW II.  For years, as in the case of the Lomonosow
 Library copy, the USSR kept silent, denied knowledge of its whereabouts

 

Spain

 

Burgos     -      Biblioteca Provincial

Perfect copy on paper

2 vols. 16th century stamped leather over wooden boards.  Acquired from a Spanish Monastery in 1870.

 

No Change  (ownership)

(Note:  In 1957-58 investigation and personal inspecton by Bible scholar and historian Don Cleveland Norman in preparation for his 1961 Gutenberg Census publication, revealed 11 leaves missing.)

 

Seville - Biblioteca Universitaria y Provincial

Volume II only, Imperfect paper copy
New Testament. 190 leaves. Bound in 19th Century leather, and acquired in 1845 from Jesuit College.

 

No Change

Switzerland

 

Cologny       -        Bibliotheca Bodmeriana 

Imperfect copy on paper
2 vols, one leaf lacking. 19th century leather binding.  Sold in 1931 by the Soviet government to Maggs Brothers of London and acquired from them by Martin Bodmer Library.

 

No Change

United States

 

Washington, D.C.  -  Library of Congress

Perfect Copy on Vellum
The "Saint Blasius - Saint Paul" Copy
The only 3 volume copy in existence, bound in white calf, stamped in blind, and dated 1560.  The finest copy in existence, according to the International Typographical Union.  Originally from the St. Paul Monastery, Austria, Vollbehr paid $370,000.  Purchased by the LOC in 1930 as part of the Vollbehr Collection (Berlin) of 15th Century printing. 1930 cost of Vollbehr collection -  $1,500,000
Cost of this copy exceeded $600,000 alone.

 

No Change

 

San Marino, CA   -     Huntington Library

Imperfect Copy on Vellum
2 vols., bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards.  Acquired by Henry E. Huntington in 1911 for $50,000 -  at that time the highest price ever paid for a book.  Had numerous 19th century owners, and can be traced back as far as 1774.

 

No Change

 

New York, NY    -    Pierpont Morgan library

 

Imperfect copies on vellum
2 vols, bound in brown morocco.  missing 4 leaves; Sold by Edwin Tross in 1864 for 15,000 francs to an English book collector. Bought by J.P. Morgan in 1897 from Henry Sotheran of London.

 

No Change

 

New Haven, CT   -   Yale University Library

 

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols, 18th century calf, gilt tooled.  Bought at auction in 1926 by Dr. A.S. W. Rosenbach for $106,000.  Sold to Mrs. Edward Harkness who presented it to Yale University in memory of Mrs. Stephen V. Harkness.

 

No Change

 

Cambridge, MA  -  Harvard University Library

 

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols, bound in red morocco by Mercier.  Presented to Harvard in 1944 by George D. Widener.  It's another copy that went through Rosenbach's hands at one point.

 

No Change

 

New York, NY   -   Pierpont Morgan Library

 

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols in blue morocco.  Bought by Quartich for the Morgan collection in 1911 for 5,800 pounds.

 

No Change

 

New York, NY   -   Private Library of 

Carl H. Pforzheimer

Perfect copy on paper
2 vols. Contemporary stamped leather over wooden boards. Bought by A.S.W. Rosenbach in 1923 at a Sotheby's auction for 9,500 pounds and sold to Mr. Pforzheimer, a great book collector and bibliophile.

 

Harry Ransom Humanities Center
University of Texas

acquired from the Pforzheimer Library, 1978.
Cost: $2.4 million.
(update courtesy Dr. Richard Oram, Librarian, UT-Austin)

 

Queenstown, MD    -      Private Library of

Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.

Imperfect copy on paper
The "Trier" Vol II
Vol II only.  260 of 317 leaves.  Houghton gave this copy to Scribner's who sold some leaves and sections.  See the NY- General Theological Seminary entry. Scribner's sold the Trier Vol II copy to George A. Poole of Chicago.  In 1953, what remained was rebound for Poole and in 1958 the volume was acquired by the Lilly Library, Indiana University. This is the sister volume of the “Trier” Vol I, owned by Stadtbibliothek Trier, Germany.

 

Lilly Library
Indiana University, Bloomington
306 of 317 leaves


The Gutenberg Museum 2012 census doesn’t mention Lilly's possession of this copy.  In August 2000 I was informed by James Canary, Lilly Library's Conservator, that his library still holds this copy; a recently purchased leaf has reduced the number of missing leaves to 11.

 

New York   - General Theological Seminary

 

Imperfect paper copy
2 vols. 19th Century blue Morocco, gilt tooled. Leaf 111 of Vol II is a pen-and-ink facsimile. Sometime after 1950 this copy became the recipient of leaf 111 from the Trier-Houghton copy acquired by Scribner's, and thus became the first incomplete copy to be made complete.

 

Auctioned by Christie's for General Theological Seminary on April 7, 1978, achieving $2.2 million. Purchased by Bernard Breslauer on behalf of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart. See ABPC, Vol 84, page 111. Also see entry - Germany.

 

New York, NY  -     New York Public Library

 

Imperfect copies on paper
2 vols., bound in old blue morocco.
First copy to come to America (1847), after purchase at a Sotheby's auction for James Lenox of New York. Newspapers of the day called the price of 500 British Pounds Sterling, "mad."  Aquired by NYPL.....?

 

No Change

 

New York, NY  -     Pierpont Morgan Library

 

Imperfect copies on paper
2 vols.  130 leaves lacking.  Rebound by Matthews in dark brown morocco.  Purchased by J. P. Morgan in 1899 from the Theodore Irwin library, Oswego, NY. Ownership can be traced back as far as 1565.

 

No Change

 

Titusville, PA     -     John H. Schiede Library

 

Imperfect copies on paper
2 vols., lacking 5 leaves. Contemporary blind-stamped leather over wooden boards. The second copy to come to the U.S.  Since 1870, it has changed hands of American owners several times.  Bought by A.S.W. Rosenbach in 1924 and subsequently sold to John Schiede. From 1934 - 37 he found and bought 12 of 17 missing leaves.

 

Princeton, New Jersey    -    Scheide Library

 

Queenstown, MD  -      Private Library of

Arthur A. Houghton, Jr.

 

In 1953, Houghton acquired the so-called "Shuckburgh" copy - 2 volumes.  Newly discovered and previously undocumented from the collection of Lady Christian Martin of Great Britain.  The 46th documented copy. 

 

Shuckburgh copy purchased in March, 1978 by the
Gutenberg Museum for $1.8 million.

 

Camarillo, CA  -    Edward Lauerence Doheny Memorial Library

 

Imperfect Copy on Paper
Vol. 1 only, 324 leaves, bound in contemporary calf over wooden boards. Acquired in 1908 for the library of C.W. Dyson Perrins from Lord Amherst of Hackney. Sold to Sir Philip Frere of London in 1947. Acquired by Estelle Doheny of Los Angeles, Oct 1950, however this was not noted in Ed Lazare's article of the Nov 1950 AB Bible Supplement.

 

Sold at Christie's on October 22, 1987 for $4.9 million, to the Maruzen Co. of Tokyo, Japan.  Acquired by Keio University Library, Tokyo, on March 22, 1996.

 

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