BIBLE, IN GERMAN. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 17 February 1483.
2 volumes in one, royal 2° (375 x 255mm). Collation: [14 2-48 56 6-378 386; 39-728 73-756] (11r St. Jerome's letter to Paulinus, 1/4r prologue to the Pentateuch, 2/1r Genesis-Psalms, 38/6 blank; 39/1 blank, 39/2r St. Jerome's letter on Proverbs, Proverbs-Maccabees, New Testament, 75/6 blank). 585 leaves (of 586, without final blank 75/6). 50 lines and headline, double column. Type: 10:120G (text), 11:162G (headings and headlines). 109 woodcuts from 108 blocks, all with contemporary hand-colouring in blue, green, orange, yellow, brown or maroon, and the opening half-page Creation woodcut with gold-leaf, first two major initials illuminated on punched gold ground within a frame, the two volumes decorated by different contemporary artists, major initials in interlocking blue and red, those in vol. II with fine in-fill decoration in pink and green, small initials and paragraph marks in red or blue, capital strokes in red. (Illumination lightly worn, occasional light off-setting of blue initials in first volume, small wormtrack in first quire touching a few letters, a few headlines just shaved, occasional light stains.) 19th-century English brown morocco, gilt-panelled sides, gilt spine, top edge gilt, index tabs (small scuffs at extremities); modern brown morocco clamshell box. Provenance: a few early annotations referring to Luther - inscription erased from first page -- Augsburg, convent of the Friars Minor of Strict Observance (18th-century inscription) - [Marlborough, 1960].
DELUXE ILLUMINATED COPY OF THE NINTH EDITION OF THE BIBLE IN GERMAN, the first printed in Nuremberg. The text, derived from Zainer's first German Bible of 1475/6, was used in all succeeding High German editions until Luther. The series of fine woodcuts influenced later Bible illustration, including those by Dürer for Koberger's 1498 Apocalypse. They had first appeared in two low-German Bible editions printed at Cologne in 1478/9 and are attributed to the eponymous "Master of the Cologne Bibles". For his Bible Koberger commissioned two new German types and is said to have run 24 presses to print it. It was available in three forms: completely uncoloured, rubricated and coloured simply in green, ochre and purple, or rubricated and coloured in a wide variety of colours and gold leaf. The present copy belongs to the last, deluxe, category. (See H. Wendland, "Eine fünfhundertjährige Inkunabel - Anton Kobergers deutsche Bibel", Philobiblon, 28, 1984, pp. 30-37). H *3137; GW 4303; BMC II, 424 (C.11.d.4,5); Schreiber 3461; BSB-Ink B-490; Goff B-632.