Rare & Antique Holy Bibles
GREATSITE.COM is the online showroom of The Bible Museum, Inc. Founded in 1987, and online since 1996; we have been the world’s largest dealer of rare & antique Bibles and ancient Bible leaves for over 35 years. In addition to investment-grade genuine original Biblical antiquities, we also publish an affordable line of high quality facsimile reproductions of ancient Bibles. Discover great treasures of Christian history from sixty dollars…to six figures. Click below to see more.
The world has turned to us for over 35 years for rare and antique Bibles and ancient theology books: both the ancient originals, as well as our privately published line of high quality facsimile reproductions. Since 1987, we have been the world’s largest dealer of rare and antique Bibles … selling more rare Bibles in fact, than the combined total of all other rare book dealers in the world! Indeed, we are the only rare book dealers specializing exclusively in Bibles and Biblical materials, who have an actual storefront and showroom.
The website of Cambridge University has for many years cited us as the only example of an established professional antique Bible specialty dealer, among the countless “rare books dealers” of the world. Since 1996, we have maintained our online Bible Museum showroom at GREATSITE.COM, a website so popular that more than 375,000 (yes, three hundred seventy-five thousand!) other websites of churches, ministries, organizations, and individuals link to one or more of our webpages here at GREATSITE.COM
More than just a Bible Museum; we actively buy and sell, and restore and preserve, ancient Bibles. Located in Goodyear, Arizona, we are open for private tours by appointment. Because of name similarity, “The Bible Museum” is often confused with the much younger but far more well-funded “Museum of The Bible” in Washington, DC, which is a billion-dollar tourist destination displaying a world-class collection and well worth visiting, but they do not seek to sell any antique Biblical material. In contrast, we are the world’s primary actual dealers (not just displayers) of antique and rare Bibles.
The Bible Museum itself is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Beyond paying our staff, vendors, and operational expenses; remaining cash flow gets re-invested into acquiring and restoring and preserving more ancient Bibles, and supporting the many Christian ministries we have sponsored since the 1980’s unto this day.
The Bible Museum, with its online showroom at GREATSITE.COM, features three types of materials for people interested in the history of God’s Word.
First, we offer genuine original investment-grade ancient Bibles and ancient books about the Bible. You can browse and search categorically through much of our inventory by selecting the link for Ancient Rare Bibles & Books. Second, we offer individual pages which we call “leaves” taken from incomplete fragments of rare antique Bibles. These can be seen by selecting the link for Ancient Bible Leaves. Third, we publish our own line of extremely high quality and sturdily bound photographic facsimile replicas of selected ancient Bibles. You can view these affordably priced options by selecting the link for Facsimile Reproductions.
A four-century-old English Family Bible makes the ideal family heirloom. Your children and family can gain a deeper appreciation for the Bible by holding one of the earliest English printings of God’s Word in their hands. Just gazing upon its ancient print style and thick pages brings a sense of reverence and awe, and reminds one of the sacrifices made by the early printers to bring us these treasured early copies of the Word of God in the English language, at a time when doing so meant risking death.
Truly, having such a precious rare early printing of The Word on display in your home is a “silent witness” to all your visitors demonstrating what your priorities are, and that yours is a Christian Home. What an amazing conversation piece and attention-commanding display item for your home! And what a magnificent gift for a very special occasion, or for the “person who has everything” or the “hard to shop for” individual.
Collecting rare and antique Bibles is a very rewarding hobby, and an excellent investment. Often however, people new to rare and antique Bibles are intimidated by their lack of knowledge in this area of specialty. They feel understandably overwhelmed, and are afraid that they do not know how to tell a $3,000 Bible from a $50,000 Bible… or they just do not know where to start. We can help you gain a firm foundation of knowledge very easily and quickly, and help you to become an educated consumer in the small but growing field of rare and antique Bible collecting. Check out our wonderful inventory of Ancient Rare Bibles.
Among our several types of available ancient Bible leaves, (individual pages from fragments of antique Bibles) the most popular has always been the majestic pages of the 1611 King James Pulpit Folio First Edition Bible. Imagine having an original page from the very first printing of the most printed book in history… perhaps even containing one of your favorite passage of scripture. It is certainly one of the most impressive things you could frame and hang on your wall. Also available are pages from English Bibles much older than the 1611 King James Version, such as the English Protestant Geneva Bible of the 1500’s, or the earliest Bibles of William Tyndale, the first person to print the scriptures in English. These options and many others are waiting for you among our offerings of Ancient Rare Bible Leaves.
For those who want access to one or more of the oldest English translations of God’s Word from the 1300’s through the 1600’s in the most affordable way possible, we also offer beautiful exact photographic replicas of the original ancient scriptures, faithful to the smallest detail. Because these are photographic copies, and not re-typsettings in modern typeface, they look 100% identical to the originals. The camera does not add, omit, edit, or alter in any way. The shape of the letters, the format, the layout, the marginal notes, are all captured precisely as they were in the costly and rare ancient original Bibles … and made readily available and affordable as an inexpensive copy for the student or collector.
Available Facsimile titles of ancient English Bibles include the beloved 1611 King James Bible, the 1560 Geneva Bible, the 1549 Tyndale Bible, the 1535 Coverdale Bible, and more. You can build an entire library of all the ancient editions of the Holy Bible very affordably. To see everything, just select the link for our Facsimile Reproductions.
The Holy Bible contains and reveals “The Greatest Story Every Told”, but the “Second Greatest Story Ever Told” is actually the history of how we got the Bible. Our popular and widely linked-to illustrated article on English Bible History has been read by well over one million people over the past 20 years. It offers the most concise way to get a quick overview of how we got God’s Word in the English language, and how the Reformers fought and died to preserve The Word against those who sought to imprison the scripture in a language few could understand, keeping the Bible for a thousand years of the Dark & Middle Ages as “The Forbidden Book”.
Learn more about the fascinating story of “The Morning Star of The Reformation”, John Wycliffe, who was the first person to translate the Bible into English in the form of primitive hand-written manuscripts in the late 1300’s, because Gutenberg had not yet invented the printing press (in 1455). From there, read the story of “God’s Outlaw”, William Tyndale, the first person to translate the scripture from the original Biblical languages, and the first to print the scriptures on a printing press as a book in the early 1500’s. Tyndale was a close friend of Martin Luther, who was busy translating and printing the Bible in the German language.
After Tyndale was executed by King Henry VIII in 1536 for the crime of publishing God’s Word in English, just three years later in 1539, King Henry VIII turned around and started funding the printing of English Bibles, declaring himself the head of both the Church and the State. When Queen “Bloody Mary” took the throne, Protestant fled England to Switzerland, where in 1560 they published the Geneva Bible. It was the first English Bible with numbered verses, the first with commentary notes, the first in Roman typeface, the Bible of the Pilgrims & Puritans, and the Bible from which Shakespeare quotes 500 times in his plays.
Next came the 1568 Bishops’ Bible of Queen Elizabeth, followed by the 1611 King James Bible, which became the most printed book in history. King James however was a profoundly controversial figure whose personal morality and iron fisted rule was the motivation for many English Protestants to flee England, cross the ocean, and found a new nation in America where religious freedom and separation of Church and State would allow for Christianity and liberty to flourish.
The story then continues with the Bibles of Colonial America, the dominance of the English King James Version Bible, and the eventual introduction of Bibles in a more modern form of English that was not centuries old. All this and more awaits you when you read the full story of English Bible History.
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Ancient Rare Bibles & Books
Ancient Rare Bible Leaves
The Bible Museum
1611 King James Pulpit Bible: First Printing of the Most Printed Book in the World
The Bible Museum
Our Rare & Antique Bible Showroom offers the world’s largest for-sale collection of ancient Bibles. Located in the Grand Lobby of one of Phoenix (Goodyear) Arizona’s most beautiful hotels; the outer showroom, open 24-hours, features many antique Bibles in display cabinets. The adjacent inner room houses our amazing Book Vault, where in-person purchases and tours are available by appointment only during regular business hours. Since 1987 we have been not just the largest, but in fact, the world’s only full-time professional dealers of rare and antique Bibles with a public showroom.
Acquiring an ancient original antique Bible printed in the 1500’s, 1600’s, or 1700’s, can be an enormously rewarding experience for any Christian who appreciates God’s Word and values having an authentic and rare piece of Christian history. In addition to our inventory of complete restored and beautifully bound original ancient Bibles, we also offer the opportunity to obtain a favorite passage of scripture in the form of an ancient Bible leaf (Bible page) suitable for framing and displaying in your home. Also, for those simply wanting an affordable reference or study copy of the ancient English translations of the Word, we publish a full line of high quality facsimile reproductions. Whichever of these three options you choose, an ancient printing of God’s Word in your home stands as a “silent witness” to any visitor, demonstrating your priorities, and confirming that yours is a Christian home that honors our Christian heritage.
Collecting and displaying what we love in our homes is a deeply rooted human trait. Many people proudly display their collections of sports memorabilia, high end audio-video equipment, music, coins, stamps, wine, artwork, books, antiques, and fine furnishings. The more affluent even collect exotic and classic automobiles. The unspoken message in all cases is: “this is what I am about… this is what is important to me… this is what I love”. What do the contents of your home silently communicate to your visitors (and your own family) regarding your focus, interests, and priorities? Many of our customers have told us their antique Bibles or Bible leaves are the first things they show their visitors, and they are often a great conversation piece for sharing their faith. We discuss this further in our article on Family Bibles and their curious disappearance from most American homes since the 1980’s.
A Bible can be antique, but not rare. A Bible can be rare, but not antique. A Bible can be both antique and rare, but not valuable. However, what we offer are Bibles that check all three boxes: Bibles that are antique and rare and valuable.
How can you determine whether a Bible is antique or rare or valuable? First and foremost, you should only purchase from a reputable dealer. We here at The Bible Museum have been the world’s largest dealers of rare and antique Bibles since 1987, (online at GREATSITE.COM since 1996), and there are no other full-time professional rare book dealers with a legitimate storefront location who focus exclusively on ancient Biblical printings, and move a significant volume of such material, making our organization a “near monopoly” in this niche market for over 35 years. We also strive to educate our customers to be independently discerning in their evaluations of ancient Bibles available for purchase anywhere. The “bargain priced” antique Bible is often not investment grade, and not the bargain it may appear to be. A basic understanding of the nature of antique Bibles and rare Bibles can provide a sense of empowerment for the buyer, which transcends being dependent upon trusting any dealer.
Our helpful article on Antique, Rare, & Valuable Bibles, explains why Bibles less than 200 years old are rarely of any historic or collector value. Even more detail can be found on our Antique Bible Buyer’s Guide, which defines many terms used in the world of rare and antique Bibles, and discusses the key factors of antiquarian Bible evaluation including: rarity, historical significance, market demand, first edition status, age, condition, collation. binding, and provenance. However, prerequisite to all that is having a good basic understanding of the history and timeline of English Bible translation, and our brief illustrated article on English Bible History is the most referenced work on that subject, having been read online by well over one million people over the past 25 years. If you are more of a visual learner, we suggest watching our popular video, “The Forbidden Book”, which you can view freely on our website.
When people visit our showroom, we often hear “Do you have an original first edition of the 1611 King James Bible”? (We usually do have one). It is no surprise that the beloved 1611 King James Version Bible, also known as the KJV Bible, or simply The Authorized Version, being the most printed book in history, is the star of the show. Many are however, surprised to learn that the 1611 King James Bible was not even among the first ten English translations of the Bible. John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English in the late 1300’s, and William Tyndale (assisted by Myles Coverdale and John “Thomas Matthew” Rogers) printed English scriptures throughout the early to mid 1500’s. Indeed, the 1611 KJV Bible was not even the first “Authorized” English Bible of the Church of England. That was King Henry VIII’s “Great Bible” of 1539, followed by Queen Elizabeth’s “Bishops Bible” of 1568. The King James Bible came much later, as the third Bible to be officially authorized by the Anglican Church, in 1611.
Discovering that the King James Bible is actually not a Protestant Bible, but rather, it is an Anglican Bible, is a shock for many. The much loved English Bible of the Protestant Reformation was in fact, the older 1560 Geneva Bible which continued to enjoy far more popularity than the KJV until well into the 1600’s. But the greatest shock of all for those who treasure the 1611 King James Bible as their favorite, is learning that the 1611 KJV Bible was revised in 1615, and again in 1629, and again in 1638, and again in 1762 & 1769. Nearly all King James Version Bibles printed in the past 250 years (since the late 1700’s) are the fifth generation revised version of the 1760’s, the Cambridge / Oxford Revisions, which contain 40,000 changes, and over 400 wording changes, … quite different than the 1611 First Edition King James Bible. Yet modern printings of the King James Bible admit this unpopular truth nowhere, and misleadingly even say “1611” in the front. Comparing your own King James Version Bible to one of our photographic facsimile reproductions of the first edition 1611 KJV Bible will quickly show the extreme difference.
Finally, there was one last change made to the King James Version Bible in 1885: the removal of 14 Books of The Bible! Prior to 1885, all English Bibles, including all King James Bibles, had 80 Books. Since 1885, we only find 66 Books in our Bibles. The missing Books, which were called the Deuterocanonical or Apocryphal Books were so important to King James that he threatened anyone who printed his Bible without these books, with a year in jail and heavy fines. This is all shocking to people who do not know the full story of the King James Bible, and the mystery and intrigue does not end there. The actual printing of the 1611 King James Bible was an extremely complex and confusing endeavor, involving two dozen printers, resulting in thousands of copies that were actually printed in 1611 being given bewildering title pages dated 1613, 1617, 1634, and 1639. If you would like to know the full story, just read our article on The 1611 King James Bible.
We know… it can be overwhelming at first. But learning about the history of the Bible is a fascinating journey. Our website, and particularly the links provided above, provide you with a step-by-step guide to quickly gaining a fundamental understanding of English Bible history. You can then read all about each Bible and decide which antique Bibles (originals or reproductions) you would like to have in your home. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to contact us, and be sure to sign up for our Email Newsletter.