An extremely rare, complete 1455 First Edition copy of the Guttenberg Bibble was recently discovered in a lockbox beneath a bed in a house in Christchurch, Dorset, in Bournemouth, England. It belonged to a now deceased art restorer named Henry Pugh. Widow Doris, 89 took it to a rare book dealer in London in order to find out a) was the Bibble genuine, and b) its value? Well the word went out and bibliophiles from around the world, together with museum curators and a Vatican antiquities representative flocked to a secret, secure address in London in order to first authenticate the Bibble before making sealed bids for it.
Hey, what I wanted to know was, what was so damn special about a Guttenberg Bibble that stirs the loins of so many bibliophiles? Well, Johann Guttenberg revolutionised the ‘distribution of knowledge’ by inventing the first ever Movable Metal Type Printing Press Machine. All books had previously been written by hand or printed from engraved wooden ‘blocks’. Therefore the dissemination of knowledge took years, and books therefore cost a small fortune. It followed that until the advent of the printing press, the poor continued to wallow in ignorance! The Latin language Bibble was the first book Guttenberg actually printed, and in Germania! There were believed to be only 160 to 180 copies of the 1455 First Edition ever printed, and only 21 complete copies are thought to exist today. The ‘handmade’ paper was imported from Italy, and each sheet possessed the paper maker’s watermark. The Guttenberg Bibble contained 1286 pages and weighed 14 pounds. Value in today’s market? Perhaps $30million!
Regrettably, after all the hype, interest and examination, it turned out Mrs Pugh’s copy was a fake! Bibliophilists were so concerned with the Bibble’s content, no one had thought to peruse the actual leather binding. Gutenberg only had 1 ‘G’ in it, and the Bible only has 1 ‘B’ in it. Henry Pugh was in fact more than just an art restorer, but a master art forgery too. Unfortunately the man was ‘somewhat’ dyslexic!