Printed in Nuremberg, Germany

Known as a "Koberger Bible"


Heather Winkelman, Medieval Portland Capstone Student, 2015
This copy of the Koberger Bible was part of John Wilson's personal collection and includes two of his notes. One is a description of the book's origin and the other is a bill of the book's sale.

This copy accessed is a first edition printing of the Koberger Bible. This edition, printed in 1475 by Anton Koberger was the least popular because of its lack of illustration. However, each section of the volume is preceded by brilliantly illustrated drop caps, painted in blue, red, and gold. Due to damage over time, much of the gold ink is now faded, the binding was repaired, and fourteen of the book's metal feet, or bosses, are missing. Indentations show that two large clasps once held the book closed.

The cover of this copy is roughly 11-1/2” by 17-1/4” have originally been purchased without this cover as loosely-bound leafs, and later bound to a cover of the buyer's choice. Based on observations of other early 15th century bindings, this binding was likely the first for this copy of the Koberger Bible.

This cover is made of thick wood and leather. The outside of the book is decorated with intricate diamond patterns. A small metal raised rectangle, or fenestre, is attached at the top center of the cover, where the title was previously held. The 901 pages of the Koberger Bible are unnumbered. The type is called Rotunda (16:110) blackletter with in a woven style, or textualis type.


Chappell, Warren. A Short History of the Printed Word. New York: Knopf, 1970. Print.

Freeman, Janet Ing. “Anton Koberger's First Books: Paper Stocks and Sequence of Printing.” The Princeton University Library Chronicle (1994): 308-23. Web.

Hamel, Christopher De. Scribes and Illuminators. Toronto: U of Toronto, 1992. Print.

Jensen, Kristian. Incunabula and Their Readers: Printing, Selling, and Using Books in the Fifteenth Century. London: British Library, 2003. Print.

Reske, Christoph. “The Printer Anton Koberger and His Printing Shop.” Gutenberg Jahrbuch 76 (2001): 98-103.