Important Collection of Bibles at Auction October 20

On Tuesday, October 20, Swann Galleries will hold a two-session auction of Medical & Scientific Books; Bibles & Early Printed Books, which features 16th- through 19th-century Bibles and related works from the library of Mel & Julie Meadows.

The afternoon session begins with the Meadows collection, which contains early editions of the major English Bible translations. Highlights include the third edition of the Great Bible, the first English-language version authorized for public use, London, 1540, in an early 19th-century Masonic binding ($15,000 to $20,000) (above); a partially hand-colored copy of the first illustrated quarto edition of the Tyndale version, London, 1552 ($15,000 to $25,000) ( below); and a first edition of the Geneva Bible, which became the household Bible of Elizabethan England, Geneva, 1560 ($20,000 to $30,000) (bottom).

Swann will also be offering a first edition of the lavishly illustrated Bishops’ Bible, which replaced the Great Bible as the version authorized for church use, London, 1568; and a copy of the 1613-11 second edition of the King James version, known as the “She” Bible because of the reading “she” instead of “he” in Ruth 3:15 ($10,000 to $15,000). Another Bible with a typographical variation is the so-called “Vinegar Bible,” Oxford, 1717-16, whose nickname results from the use of the word “vinegar” instead of “vineyard” in Luke 20, among other misprints ($3,000 to $5,000).