BIBLIA GERMANICA. Augsburg: Anton Sorg, 20 June 1477.
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BIBLIA GERMANICA. Augsburg: Anton Sorg, 20 June 1477.

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BIBLIA GERMANICA. Augsburg: Anton Sorg, 20 June 1477.

Royal 2° (364 x 254mm). Collation: [1-1610 178(4+1) 18-2610 278; 28-4010 4110(5+1) 4212 4310(2+1); 44-5010 5110(+-10) 52-5310 5410(8+1)] (1/1r blank, 1/1v table of contents, 1/2r-27/8r Genesis-Psalms, 27/8v blank; 28/1r-43/10r Proverbs-2 Maccabees, 43/10v blank; 44/1r-54/10r New Testament, 54/10v blank). 542 leaves. 55 lines and headline, double column. Type: 1:103G. 77 column-width woodcuts, from 40 blocks (37 repeats), woodcut Maiblumen initial opening each book, outline and solid lombard chapter initials. Contemporary rubrication: outline initials filled with red, woodcuts and Maiblumen initials coloured with red, paragraph marks and capital strokes in red. Two lines of text have been added by a contemporary hand, probably in the printing shop, at the end of 5/10v (as in the BSB and Scheide copies). Bearer type on 1/1v, pinholes visible in some leaves. (Small hole in first leaf touching a few letters, very occasional light spot, marginal repair in 1/4, stain at gutter of 54/1r.) 17th-century German blindstamped pigskin over reverse beveled wooden boards, sides with concentric panels, central lozenge, remains of two fore-edge clasps, blue edges; modern brown buckram folding box, leather spine label. Provenance: Counts Stolberg of Wernigerode (19th-century armorial stamp on first text leaf) -- Countess Estelle Doheny (bookplate; sale Christies New York, 22 October 1987, lot 44).

FIFTH OR SIXTH GERMAN BIBLE, THE THIRD OR FOURTH TO BE ILLUSTRATED, PRINTED WITH THE FIRST SERIES OF BIBLE WOODCUT ILLUSTRATIONS IN GERMANY, as distinct from that of Günther Zainer (Augsburg: c. 1474 and later editions), which are technically historiated initials, each block combining an initial with a Biblical scene. For his near-simultaneous edition, also at Augsburg, Pflanzman commissioned 23 woodcuts. Sorg took over Pflanzman's blocks, reprinted 17 and added a further 23 to the series. Precedence between Sorg's edition, dated 20 June 1477, and Zainer's second illustrated Bible, dated simply 1477, has not been established.

A FINE, FRESH COPY, FROM THE GREAT LIBRARY OF THE COUNTS STOLBERG AT WERNIGERODE, RENOWNED FOR ITS BIBLE COLLECTION. Founded already in the 16th-century, the Stolberg library was built largely by Count Christian Ernst. He acceded to the title in 1710, and over the course of 11 years the number of Bibles in the library grew from 905 to 11,714; printed catalogues were issued to assist dealers in securing other editions. Under Christian Ernst's patronage, 8 editions of the Bible were printed at Wernigerode, and he personally supervised publication of a hymn book there (H. Weber, "Some Notes on the Stolberg Library", Harvard Alumni Bulletin, 27 April 1934, pp. 798-808.)

The edition is very rare on the market; no other copy has sold in Anglo-American auctions for over a century, and only an imperfect copy has sold in German auctions in over half a century.

The book was printed one page at a time, not in formes; faint off-setting in quire 32 shows the sheets were printed outer sides first. The collation varies from GW but agrees with BMC and Bod-Inc. The inserted leaves are all printed on full chancery sheets with a posthorn watermark and were presumably worked off at the end of the press-run to make good textual deficiencies. HC *3135; GW 4301; BMC II, 334 (IC.5808); CIBN B-442; IGI 1711; BSB-Ink. B-488; Bod-Inc. B-329; Schreiber 3459; Eichenberger and Wendland, Deutsche Bibeln vor Luther, pp.59-64; Goff B-630.
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