Could you actually buy a Gutenburg Bible? Assuming you got enough cash, do they actually come up with for sale?


2 Answers 2


From, "The Top 10 Rare Books" https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/literature/10-rare-books1.htm:

  1. "It is believed that 180 copies of the Bible were produced--135 on paper and 35 on vellum, or calfskin. Today, only 48 copies are known to exist, some of them only partial, almost all of them in the hands of museums, universities and libraries..."
  2. "How much is a Gutenberg Bible worth? A perfect copy hasn't changed hands in years, but in 2007, a single leaf went on sale for $74,000. In 1978, Christie's auctioned off a perfect two-volume Bible for $2.2 million. Another Christie's auction in 1987 transferred an incomplete version to a Japanese company for $4.9 million..."

As AlanD points out, full copies of the original are not for sale, but pages and portions have been sold as recently as 2015 with an 8-page was estimated to be worth around $500,000 selling for $970,000.

Furthermore, in a 1987 auction above, while it sold for $4.9 million, you'd likely have to fork out significantly more consider that:

In total, the price was $5.39 million, counting the 10% commission that Christie’s, the auctioneers, received from the buyer, Maruzen Co. Ltd., one of Japan’s biggest booksellers.

And given inflation, $5.39 million October 1987 dollars has a buying power of $12,066,260.62 in March 2020 .

  • Thank you, ninthamigo! Welcome to the site!
    – AlanD
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 23:26

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