Art And Culture

Rare Copy of Bible to Be Auctioned

Rare Copy of Bible to Be AuctionedRare Copy of Bible to Be Auctioned

A rare copy of the first Bible to be printed in English - bought by the current owner for 25 shillings - is going under the hammer.

The William Tyndale translation of the New Testament into English is expected to fetch around £35,000 at Sotheby’s next month, reported.

The edition was bought by the anonymous owner while looking around a second-hand bookshop in Cambridge during the 1960s, when he was a student.

After being arrested in Antwerp, Tyndale was executed as a heretic in 1536 and copies of the book which were discovered in Britain were burnt.

The copy going under the hammer was printed in 1537, from Tyndale’s first complete Bible printed in English in 1526.

Henry VIII eventually ordered four English translations of the Bible to be published in England, less than four years after Tyndale’s death by strangulation.

Peter Selly, senior specialist in books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, said: “It’s a remarkable thing to see the common tongue being deployed in this way.

“It opens the Bible up for the first time ... and a lot of these phrases would become embedded in the English language. It’s not just the religious aspect, it’s the contribution to the English language. A lot of people have said ‘no Tyndale, no Shakespeare’. He transformed and had a great gift for the English language,” Selly said.

On the current owner, Selly noted: “He loves the book and has treasured it for a long time. He only realized its true worth in the last few months. “He thought it was more interesting than it appeared to be in the bookshop but it was only recently that he realized it was worth far more than he thought”.

The Bible will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on July 15.