The Fust-Schöffer Bible at Ketterer Kunst

Fust-Schoffer Bible at Ketterer Kunst

As Ketterer Kunst reaches its 65th year, the renowned European auction house is celebrating with a number of special anniversary auctions.

Of particulary interest is their Rare Book Auction scheduled for 25th November which will feature, among other treasures, a Fust-Schöffer Bible from 1462 which will be called up with an estimated price of €1million.

This book has been admired by collectors and book lovers as the most beautiful bible print of all, often esteemed even higher than the Gutenberg Bible, printed seven years earlier. The B-48 (named in reference to the number of lines printed on each page) is the fourth printed bible edition and the first to be printed in the Gotico-Antiqua type, developed by Peter Schöffer. This elaborate “Fere humanistica” (Latin for “almost humanistic”) remains the most legible type up until today, and that may well have been the key reason for the great international success of bible editions with 48 lines.

The 'Biblia Latina' coming to auction (lot no. 11) is a unique and perfectly preserved vellum copy, with an illumination of “excellent artistic quality” and is, without exaggeration, considered of epochal importance for the history of the book. It is accompanied by an expert opinion issued by Professor Dr. Tilo Brandis, former library director and head of the department of manuscripts at the Berlin State Library, who assessed a price of €2.2 million for this copy in October 2016.

The bindings are 18th century russia over early wooden boards with blind-tooled crest roll borders, triple gilt fillets, spines with floral gilt stamps and two color labels; each board with five chased 15th century brass fittings, centre fittings with invocations “O Maria hilf Maria in den Himmel” (vol. I) and “Ave Maria” (vol. II) with two clasps. Each volume is in a modern half morocco case with gilt-lettered title on the spine. The illumination is mostly historiated decorative initials in colour acanthus on gold or in gold on colours, illuminated and calligraphed in two different Northern Italian styles from different periods.

The Rare Book Auction will take place at Ketterer Kunst in Hamburg (Holstenwall 5 20355) at 5pm on Monday, 25 November 2019.

Click on the links to find out more about the Fust-Schöffer Bible (including some stunning illustrations) and about the Rare Book Auction or contact

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