The most precious masterpiece of the earliest Christian art of printing, as all book-lovers seem to agree, is Johannes Gutenberg's Bible in Latin. The choicest of all the forty-five specimens of Gutenberg Bibles still remaining in existence (so most connoisseurs of early printing likewise agree) are the twelve printed on vellum. Of this famous first and only parchment edition there remain but three perfect specimens of the complete Scriptures.
To wit: The two volume Gutenberg Bible acquired by the French Bibliothèque Royale in 1788; another two volume Gutenberg Bible acquired by the British Museum in 1846; and the famous three volume Gutenberg Bible of the Carinthian monastery of St. Paul, acquired in 1926 by Dr. Otto H. F. Vollbehr of Berlin for $305,000, the highest recorded price ever paid for any book. Yet Dr. W. S. Rosenbach, the well-known antiquary of Philadelphia, in his "Books and Bidders" has predicted that the next price of a mere paper copy of this rarest of books will be more than one million dollars. Inasmuch as that particular Bible on vellum is not only the costliest book in the world, but is also the only Gutenberg Bible bound long ago in three volumes--all others from that earliest press having been bound in two --this cornerstone of the great Vollbehr Collection of 3,000 fifteenth century prints may fitly be called an incunabulum incunabulorum, or the book of earliest printed books.--Edwin Emerson (Incunabulum Incunabulorum: The Gutenberg Bible on Vellum in the Vollbehr Collection, Tudor Press, 1928).Obviously, Gutenberg's Bible stands as one of the finest examples of the art of printing: 1- Superb typographic legibility and texture, 2- generous margins, 3- excellent presswork.