1743 Christopher Saur Bible
The Earliest Bible in a European Language
Printed in the American Colonies
[Bible in German.] [Bible in America.] Biblia, Das ist, Die Heilige Schrift Altes und Neues Testaments, … Germantown [PA]: Christoph Saur, 1743.
First edition of the Saur German Bible: Martin Luther’s translation taken from the Halle Bible, 34th Edition, with the books of 3 Maccabees and 3 & 4 Esdras provided by the Berlenburg Bible (DM 4239). Text is heavily cross-referenced.
Very stout quarto. Complete. Collation: General title-page, then Vorrede (1 f.);
A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, 4A-4Z4, 5A-5Z4, 6A-6I4, 6K2 (3 Maccabees ends on Kkk kkkr (v, blank), (NT title-page is [A1])(NT signatures use Roman type) A-Z4, Aa-Mm4 (Revelation ends on Mmr, “Register” follows.
The fraktur type was imported from the Luther Foundry in Frankfurt. The endeavor of printing this edition of 1200 copies took three years. The final product was priced 18 shillings, but in a letter, Christoph Saur wrote “for the poor, we have no price.”
General title-page tired at edges with some loss, mounted. Occasional damp. Some spotting and other soil; some inevitable intrinsic browning and foxing.
Overall, very nice by the criteria applied to this book and with nice margins.
In a modern plain full calf binding.
Rumball-Petre, Rare Bibles, 159; Darlow & Moule 4240; O’Callaghan 22; Wright, Early Bibles of America, 24–44. Evans 5127–28. Sabin 5191. Arndt, The First Century of German Language Printing in the United States of America, 47. Hildeburn, The Issues of the Press in Pennsylvania, 1685-1784, 804. Hocker, The Sower Printing House of Colonial Times, 1948