By the Numbers: The Gutenberg Bible

Fans of the printed word should be interested in knowing that on Feb. 23, 1455, Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the movable metallic type printing press (at least in the Western world) and godfather of mass communication, printed his first Bible.


The amount of money Gutenberg made with his Bibles. A business partner sued Gutenberg for the return of money loaned to the printer to produce the Bibles. Gutenberg lost the lawsuit and had to turn over his printing equipment and half the Bibles to the partner, Johann Fust.


The number of Gutenberg Bibles that exist in the United States; three of those are owned by the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan.


The number of Gutenberg Bibles that exist in Germany.


The number of Gutenberg Bibles that are known to exist today, and less than half of those are complete.


The weight in pounds of the two-volume Bible.


The number of Gutenberg Bibles printed on rag cotton linen paper.


The estimated number of calf skins required to produce one Gutenberg Bible from vellum (fine parchment made from calf skin). Only 35 were printed on vellum.


The number of complete Gutenberg Bibles that were printed.


The number of pages the two-volume Gutenberg Bibles contain.


The year a collection of Zen Buddhist teachings called Jikji was printed with metal movable type in Korea, 75 years before Gutenberg.

$2.2 million

The amount the first Gutenberg Bible sold for on June 9, 1978.

$100 million

The estimate of what a complete Gutenberg Bible would go for today.


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