• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 14 June 2018

RELEASE: The Plantin Polyglot Bible - A Renaissance Masterpiece With Royal Provenance To Be Offered In London On 11 July

London – Christie’s is pleased to offer discerning collectors the opportunity to view and acquire the Plantin Polyglot Bible during its summer auction of Books and Manuscripts on 11 July in London (estimate: £400,000 – £600,000). Produced by the Plantin Printing workshop in Antwerp almost 450 years ago for King Philip II, this monument of biblical scholarship was recently on view at the Plantin-Moretus Museum, its place of origin, which was widely attended by the public.

Also known as the Biblia Regia, this is considered the greatest achievements of the Plantin printing press. Printed in its original languages and the Latin Vulgate, this polyglot Bible features beautiful and exotic types and exemplifies an epitome of typographical design.

King Philip II of Spain had originally commissioned 13 copies on vellum for his personal use, and only 11 of these sets survive today. Sent to him by Plantin in 1572, it remained in royal ownership until c.1788 when Charles III gave it to his son, which then followed on by descent to the present owner. This is the only copy in private hands as all other copies are owned by institutions. Seven are located in Spain, while the others reside in London, Turin and the Vatican.

Margaret Ford, International Director Books and Manuscripts comments - The Renaissance press of Christopher Plantin set out to produce the finest Bible in all Christendom, and Christie’s is exceptionally pleased to have brought back for the first time in almost 450 years, a deluxe vellum copy of this masterpiece to its place of origin and the very presses that printed it. Christie’s look forward to offering deluxe Biblia Regia in its auction in London on 11 July, as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for discerning collectors and bibliophiles not to miss.”

Iris Kockelbergh, Director of the Plantin-Moretus Museum says - “The return of the Biblia Regia in its original home was an emotional moment. Seeing this masterpiece on paper is extremely moving and the version on vellum truly surpasses this experience.  We were pleased with the high level of attendance for the view, as we welcomed local and international viewers to the Plantin-Moretus Museum, a Unesco World Heritage site.”

*The Plantin Polyglot Bible was on view at the Plantin-Moretus Museum on 21 June and 22 June

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in 2019 that totalled £4.5 billion / $5.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.