27 Jun 2017
April 26, 2016 - Filed under: Auctions — David

A rare 16th-Century Bible surprised auctioneers when it sold for five times the original estimate.

The book, dating back to 1579, was originally expected to sell for an amount between £500 and £800. When it appeared at auction at Moore Allen & Innocent recently, it attracted a great deal of attention and eventually sold at £2,500.

The Bible was produced during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and her High Sheriff of Gloucestershire was the original owner. Christopher Barker produced it, and was the Virgin Queen’s official printer best known for his work producing a number of Bibles during the Elizabethan era.

Auctioneers first acknowledged that the Bible would probably exceed the estimate when interest grew before the sale. The bidding itself was fiercely competitive, leading to the much higher sale price of the antique book. Spanning five volumes, it had an inscription inside the cover stating that it was owned by George Huntley, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire during 1599, who had also signed the Bible. The five volumes had been bound in red velvet by a descendent of Huntley during the Victorian era, before being housed in a box bound in leather.

Such an item would perhaps be stored in a living area along with other antique books in an antique cabinet or bookcase. Rather than pay the buyer’s fee at auction, collectors often choose to browse local antiques stores, where there are a number of items to be discovered and given a suitable home.

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