A First Edition 1539 Great Bible Display Leaf


Offered for the consideration of the Bible leaf collector is an original display leaf from the first edition 1539 Great Bible accompanied by a reproduction of its title page and a signed Certificate of Authenticity from the Biblical Heritage Collection Archives. The discounted price reflects our choice of a randon leaf. Not to worry, we do not choose leaves from the Apocrypha. Every leaf contains a treasure form the Lord 


The Great Bible Offer


  • An original first edition 1539 Great Bible (H46) display leaf. The special discounted price reflects our choice of the leaf. 
  • A fine art reproduction1539 Great Bible (H46) title page
  • A fine art reproduction portrait of Henry VIII
  • A fine art reproduction portrait of Myles Coverdale
  • A fine art reproduction portrait of Thomas Cranmer
  • A fine art reproduction portrait of Thomas Cromwell
  • A fine art reproduction print portraying the reading of the chained Great Bible at St. Paul's Cathedral
  • A fine art reproduction leaf from the 1572 second folio edition of the Bishops' Bible (H132) from the Psalms 
  • A fine art reproduction of the 1572 Bishops' Bible (H132) title page
  • An original first large folio edition display leaf from the Psalms of the 1578 Geneva Bible (H154). The special discounted price reflects our choice of the leaf. 
  • A fine art reproduction of the 1578 Geneva Bible (H154) title page
  • The above original leaves are for display purposes only. 
  • Reference material from the HISTORICAL CATALOGUE OF PRINTED EDITIONS OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE 1525-1961 by A.S. Herbert. Herbert Catalogue is the standard reference work for printed English Bibles. 


The Great Bible


The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye the content of all the holy

scrypture, bothe of ye olde and newe testament, truly translated after the

veryte of the Hebrue and Greke textes, by ye dylygent studye of dyuerse

excellent learned men, expert in theforsayde tonges. Prynted by Rychard

Grafton & Edward Whitchurch. Cum priuilegio ad imprimen dum

solum. 1539.


The first edition of the ‘Great Bible,’ the hole byble of the largyest uolume, which Thomas Cromwell, as the King’s vicegerent, in an injunction to the clergy (September 1538), ordered to be set up un sum conuenient place wythin the said church that ye haue cure of, where as your parishoners may moste coinetinously resorte to the same and reade it.


A revision by Coverdale of Matthew’s Bible, which he corrected chiefly by the aid of Sebastian Munster’s Latin translation of the Hebrew Old Testament (1534-35), and of the Latin Vulgate and Erasmus’ Latin version in the New Testament, with the collateral help of the Complutensian Polyglot (published about 1520). Coverdale worked under Cromwell’s direct patronage; hence the result is sometimes known as ‘ Cromwell’s Bible.’ This version and its subsequent editions are often called ‘ Cranmer’s Version,’ although the Archbishop had little, if anything, to do with their preparation, beyond adding a Prologue, which first appeared in the second large folio edition, April 1540.


The printing was originally entrusted by Grafton and Whitchurch to Francis Regnault, the Paris printer. But at the end of 1538 the work was suppressed by the French authorities, and many of the sheets confiscated. Coverdale and Grafton, however, were able to save some, and to transport the necessary presses, type and workmen to London, where the edition was completed in April 1539.  


In the Book of Common Prayer the Psalter still follows, with slight variations, the Great Bible; but since 1662 the Epistles and Gospels have been taken from King James’ version. The translation of the Canticles, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Commandments, with other quotations of Scripture, differs more or less from all our standard versions.     


The headlines include short subject headings in the early part of the book. Words not found in the original are printed in smaller type. In the margins are placed references, and many pointing hands and other signs referring to notes which the editor had intended to append, but which never appeared.     To be continued...


  • ... continued


    The large border to the general title is the well-known woodcut, ascribed to Hans Holbein, which represents Henry VIII, Cranmer and Cromwell distributing Bibles, and the people shouting ‘Vivat Rex’ and ‘God save the King! This design also appears on the Apocrypha titlepage. The titles to pts. 2 and 3 are enclosed within borders, each formed of 16 small woodblocks, representing Bible incidents. These are repeated in the text, with many similar blocks, having an ornamental border or column on each side. Different cuts are found at the beginning of the Psalter, St. Matthew’s Gospel, and the Epistle to the Romans. The N. T. title-border is formed of 8 larger blocks, representing the following: (1) the Annunciation, (2) the Holy Innocents, (3) the Shepherds in the Fields, (4) the Circumcision, (5) the Adoration of the Magi, (6) the Crucifixion, (7) the Stem of Jesse, and (8) the Resurrection. Many woodcut initials also occur scattered throughout the book. Darlow and Moule 1903, Vol. 1.


    BUT WAIT!! THERE IS MORE!!! When the Bishops' Bible was first published in 1568 there was some considerable disquiet in the Anglican Church with the new translation of the Psalms. The people had gotten so use to reading, singing and memorizing Myles Coverdale's 1539 Great Bible Psalms in public and private worship that the King's Printer, Richard Jugge, in his 1572 second folio edition offered both translations side by side. We are inculding in this offer a fine art reproduction of a leaf from the 1572 second folio edition of the Bishops' Bible. And of course a fine art repoduction of the title page accompanies the leaf as well. 


    BUT THAT'S NOT ALL OF THE STORY! This dual translation of the Psalms proved to be so popular with the Church of England that Christopher Barker in 1578, after he had purchased the patent to print all Bibles in England, followed Jugge's example and included Coverdale's Great Bible Psalms side by side with the Genevan translation of the Bible. By this time the Geneva Bible was proving to be the translation of the people but yet most still felt a warm kinship with Coverdale's Great Bible Psalms. We suppose you might have guessed by now we are indeed inculding in this offer AN ORIGINAL LEAF from Barker's 1578 first large folio edition of the Geneva Bible (H154). And of course a fine art repoduction of the title page accompanies the leaf as well as a Certificate of Authenticity.


    BUT WAIT!! THERE IS EVEN MORE!!! Because of our commitment to putting these unique fragments of history into the hands of Bible believers, who will not only cherish and display these original documents of their Christian heritage but will also share their love for Jesus Christ, that we are going to help the successful collector who acquires this offer to pay for it. That’s right! We are going to give to the winner of this offer, at no additional cost, FIVE MORE LEAVES from a quarto (personal size) King James’ Bible printed between 1614 and 1640. That’s 7 original early Bible leaves 12 fine art reproductions for a total of 19 leaves in this offer. Of course we will provide a reproduction title page and a Certificate of Authenticity for each original leaf. Whoever is blessed to own this display leaf will be privileged to share it with family and friends by introducing them to the world of Bible leaf collecting. Give them the opportunity of owning their very own piece of original Biblical history by either selling them one of the KJV quarto leaves or simply giving them away as witnesses to one's faith.


    May we suggest this Biblical Archives offer would make an awesome gift for one’s pastor, teacher or faith mentor. Use these materials as a teaching or evangelism aide with children, church, school or seminary. Mount the leaves on the walls of your home, business or church as a testimony to the saving and sustaining power of the Word of God. Give your children hands-on experience developing critical analytical skills using original ancient documents as part of their Home School curriculum. Create a mini-museum of your very own Biblical Heritage.