An interesting rare book has been brought to our attention. It isn't an old book, but instead a highly-collectible limited edition Bible produced in 2001. This very rare Bible goes under the hammer in San Francisco on February 6.
The Bible was produced by Ediciones Dos Amigos, a private press firm, and Artesanías Gráficas. Both are located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Founded in 1980, Artesanías Gráficas is one of the few remaining printing shops to preserve traditional typographical printing methods.
Forty copies of this book, referred to as the Reina-Valera, were produced in 2001. The Reina-Valera was first published in 1602 and is sometimes nicknamed "Biblia del Oso" or 'Bible of the Bear'.
The book wasn't the first complete Bible produced in Spanish. But it was the first major revision of the Spanish Bible, based on a version of the Hebrew Masoretic Text dated to 1525. The book was translated by Casiodoro de Reina and edited by Cipriano de Valera.
De Valera embraced the reformation, and was consequently an exile in England during most of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He later became a professor at the University of Cambridge.
This copy of the book for sale - numbered five of 40 - is in two volumes, including Genesis. The book has been lavishly illustrated with etchings and aquatints by the contemporary Argentinian artists Alicia Scavino and Mirta Kupferminc. One of these has been signed by Scavino.
According to the auctioneer's lot notes, each volume is housed within a decorative paper folder and is laid in decorative cloth with boards and a drop-back box. This very limited reproduction of the Reina-Valera Bible will auction with a $12,000 to $18,000 presale estimate.
Considering that the book is of exhibition calibre - it appeared in an expo called "Sacred Texts" held in the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design during February 2007 - it will be very interesting to see how well it does in the February sale.
Watch this space for more news from the rare book markets.