Important Books & Manuscripts | 29 November 2011

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Lot no.



Sold for £105000

Est: £100000–150000


English. The New Testament Of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: Newly Translated out of the Original Greek; And with the former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised, the Aitken New Testament, double column, title within woodcut border and with large woodcut device at tail, diagonal cuts across device very slightly affecting imprint and nearly completely obscuring ex-library perforated stamp of the Philadelphia Divinity School, also horizontal tear just under printed title and a ?burn mark in margin, A4, A5 & S1 ink
mark, O1 outer corner torn away with some loss of text, O2 stain, Q1, S2 & 2E3 spot of white mould, S2-Z2 single wormhole in lower margin not affecting text, 2C1-2F1 large damp-stain, 2G1 horizontal tear across 1 column, 2G4 last f. blank half torn away, some ff. working loose, many corners and margins with small tears, browned and foxed throughout, lacks front free endpaper, last 3pp. at end Baptists Profession of Truth [1677] (incomplete and used as lower endpapers and pastedown), juvenile ink inscription on last p. "Vanity makes Beauty ?increditabl America", hinges splitting but still strong,
contemporary calf, creased, corners bumped, spine creased and rubbed, housed in an early 20th century morocco box, gilt, by Hyman Zucker, [ESTC lists 2 copies only, in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and New York Public Library; Evans 15243], 12mo, Philadelphia… Front Street. R. Aitken, 1777.

⁂ " The earliest edition of the English New Testament printed in America." - Herbert.

Robert Aitken (1734-1802), printer, publisher and engraver. Aitken was born in Dalkeith, Scotland and emigrated to America in 1769 and started business as a bookseller in Philadelphia under the sign of the Pope's Head in Market Street. In 1773 he issued Aitken's General American Register and two years later published the Pennsylvania Magazine with contributions by Thomas Paine, Francis Hopkinson and John Witherspoon. In 1777 Aitken published the New Testament breaking the Crown's monopoly on the production of the King James Bible. The first complete Bible followed in 1781-82. The venture was a financial failure despite official approval from the newly instituted Congress.

Provenance: The Philadelphia Divinity School; 6 photographs show the title unmutilated and with the perforated stamp intact. The Philadelphia Divinity School was disbanded in 1974 and merged with the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass; the EDS has in the past sold a number of books from its Rare Book Collections.

Important Books & Manuscripts

Tuesday 29 November 2011, 10.30am

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street


24th November 9.30am - 5.30pm
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28th November 9.30am - 5.30pm
29th November from 9.30am

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