Limited edition Bible

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Q: We have a fine set of 14 volumes of the Holy Bible published by R.H. Hinkley of Boston in the limited edition No. 147 of 500 copies bound in pigskin and what appears to be wood.

Each book has a single different colored scene under onionskin-like paper. Each is in excellent condition, no tears or dirty pages or visible wear. One volume has written signatures of the original owner. What might these be worth? Thank you.

A: The complete title of your Bible set is The Holy Bible, Containing The Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha; Translated Out of the Original Tongues in the Year of Our Lord 1611.

There were three different early limited edition sets published by the R. H. Hinkley Company/ Merrymount Press, Boston, MA. Merrymount Press was founded by Daniel Berkeley Updike in 1904. They all contain etchings by LaLauze, Boilot, F. Pagnier, EM Laitin, Aubert and other artists of note at the time.
There were three limited edition runs with each containing 14 volumes all of which are thought to have been issued around 1904.

•  One was a limited edition of 488 books which is printed on hand crafted paper, this is believed to be the first edition first printing.
•  Another edition was limited to a run of 500.
•  The last was a limited edition of 1,000.

The spines are usually kid leather, over wood covers. It is excellent that the tissue is still over the illustrations. This was done to prevent the color from bleeding on to the text on the facing page.

If the condition is excellent to near mint, clean inside and out, and with unscathed wooden boards, the resale value of your particular set is $400-$500 USD.

Just as a side note, most Bibles are not worth much on the resale market. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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