1631 KJV "Wicked" Bible


The Wicked Bible: “Thou shalt commit adultery”


The Holy Bible: ... London: Robert Barker, ...And by the Assignes of Iohn Ball, 1631. 8vo, modern (early/mid-20 th century?) dark green morocco; X2 (second leaf of II Chronicles), Y1 (first leaf of Job), & Nn2 (Habakkuk) in facsimile; the top outer corner of H4 (Numbers 22/23) is torn away, removing a few words from 5 lines of text); the top 3” of the outer column of Oo2 (I Esdras 5) is strengthened verso with clear tape; a piece is torn from the outer margin of Ggg1 (I Corinthians 11), removing a few words on 8 or 10 lines of text: neatly repaired); the outer margin of about 60% of Ggg8 is torn away, just touching the text recto & verso); the outer margins are occasionally shaved throughout, with repairs to the NT title and first leaf of Matthew; there is some minor soiling and there are a few tears without loss throughout; generally a well used copy, the error in Exodus 20 notwithstanding. ***Herbert 444, the most notorious printing error in the history of the English Bible, with Exodus 20: 14 reading: “Thou shalt commit adultery.” For this error the printers were fined heavily and the whole impression was called in. Few copies escaped this recall and consequently copies rarely appear for sale: the note in Herbert says “As the edition of 1,000 copies was ordered to be suppressed, specimens are very rare.”

***Now loose, but previously tipped in over the offending verse: “Thou shalt commit adultery”, is (in the same type and on the same paper) the correcting words: “Thou shalt not commit adulter[y]”. I have nowhere read of such a correction being made; possibly this is unique.

***The old ownership inscription of Sam Clarke is on the version of the general title BOUND IN at the front is a defective Book of Common Prayer (beginning at B1, the last leaf of the calendar, which has its top outer corner torn away, the BCP is otherwise complete) AND The Genealogies... Cum Privilegio. Anno Dom. 1631. Complete, including the double page map of Canaan. BOUND IN at the rear is A Brief Concordance To The Bible of the Last Translation. Serving for the more easie finding out of the most usefull places therein contained. Alphabetically Digested, And Allowed by Authoritie to be printed, and bound with the Bible in all Volumes. Imprinted at London, 1630. The pages are unnumbered, but the collation is *2, A-D8, E7 (lacks E8 and any thereafter, ending with ‘sweare’). $68,500. SOLD.



click on the pictures to enlarge