Auctions | October 5, 2010

Cuttlestones to Auction Elizabethan Bible

A 16th Century bible published during the rule of Queen Elizabeth I is set to come under the hammer at Staffordshire auction house Cuttlestones’ Friday 8th October Collectors’ sale. The leather-bound volume, entitled ‘The Holy Byble, the Newe Testament’, is a fine example of a family bible of the era and is of exceptional quality.

Printed on high quality paper stock with beautifully designed text, the bible carries little wear despite its considerable age. It is finished with patterned gilt edging and marbled end papers, retaining a number of satin page markers.

The volume dates to a period when only very high status families would have the means to afford their own copy of the bible; while this example contains no reference to the identity of its original owners, a later plate bears the inscription ‘Henry Walker, Sheffield’.

A prolific publisher

??Printed in 1585 this bible was produced at the height of its publisher’s fame, during his role as royal printer. Christopher Barker was an early entrepreneur - born in 1529 to a privileged family he took an active interest in the printing industry and, in 1576, secured the most valuable patent of the time; the right to print the Geneva version of the bible in England. This was closely followed by the 1577 purchase of an extensive patent which included the Old and New Testament in English, with or without notes, of any translation.

The patent also afforded the office of royal printer and the rights to print all statutes, books, bills, Acts of Parliament, proclamations, injunctions, all service books to be used in churches and all other volumes ordered to be printed by the Queen or Parliament; making him the most powerful printer of the Elizabethan era. On Christopher’s death in 1599 his son, Robert, followed him into the family trade.

Further information on the Elizabethan bible, along with a host of other exciting lots in the 8th October Collectors’ sale, will be available from the online catalogue from Friday, 1st October - visit or call 01785 714905 for further details. Meanwhile, for those unable to attend the sale, commission, telephone and online bidding via are available.