Tiny "Poor Man's Bible" incunable leaf, 1495.

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The Book of Numbers with coloured initials added by hand.

A scarce leaf from the second edition of the first Bible printed in octavo format by Johann Froben, founder of a great printer’s dynasty and friend of Erasmus. The size of Froben’s Bible conforms to that of many 13C portable manuscript Bibles written in Paris.  To keep the number of leaves within a single volume, Froben used an unusually small but very clear gothic font in 7-point size.  The Bible was known as the "Poor Man's Bible” because it was convenient to carry and easily affordable.

Recto:   Text in Latin printed in two columns in a gothic type on watermarked laid paper.  Red rulings.  Two three-line coloured initials added by hand after the printing.  Heading  “Numeri” marked in red.  Capital letters touched in yellow.

Verso: As Recto with one coloured penned initial.

Printer: Johann Froben, Basel.

Date: October 27, 1495.

Content: The text is from the Book of Numbers. The red initial “L’ in the left column begins Chapter 2:

Locutusque est dominus ad mosen et aaron dicens.  Singuli per turmas signa atque vexilla et domos cognationum suarum castrametabuntur filiorum  Israhel per gyrum tabernaculi foederis.

(And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: All the children of Israel shall camp by their troops, ensigns, and standards, and the houses of their kindreds, round about the tabernacle of the covenant.

Condition:  The leaf is in fine condition, unblemished and expertly printed .

Size:  Leaf: 150x105 mm.  Postage: Australia $20.  Overseas: ask for quote.

References:  Goff B 598; Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke 4275. ISTC ib00598000

Item No: PSA154

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