Approximate Reading Time, 2 minutes.
The Poor Man’s Bible’s nickname came from the small format – median octavo (6 3/16 x 4 5/16 inches; 157×110 mm). Despite the relatively small size, the Bible exhibits the best craftsmanship of its time. It was printed in a new architectural design “rotunda,” that allowed Johannes Froben to produce printed pages of great clarity and neatness despite its small size.
Johann Froben, a Swiss printer, printed the first pocket-sized octavo Latin Bible at Basel in 1491, the so-called “Poor man’s Bible.” He completed the second edition in this small format in 1495. Convenient to carry and easily affordable, this edition combined several user-friendly features that Froben advertised on his title page: marginal chapter divisions and references, a subject index, and tabular summary of the books and their contents.
“The “Poor Man’s Bible” today is quite scarce. The last known first edition appeared at an auction was on December 15, 1986, during an event held at Sotheby’s. Current pricing for the only first edition available for sale is $26,200. The second edition which was printed four years later on Oct. 27, 1495 and is equally scarce, is also selling for around $25,000. Not bad for a small octavo that was intended to appeal to the common church goers and ultimately be called “The poor man’s Bible. “” – article from Rare Books Digest.
This leaf is easily readable, and would look beautiful framed or on display.
Printed 1491-1495 in Basel by Johannes Froben.
Size: Approx. 6 3/16 x 4 5/16 inches. Small format – Median Octavo
Condition: Good, Evidence of ageing: light soiling, browning.
Please see all photos for condition before purchasing.