Monday, March 05, 2007

Rare "He" Bible to be Sold

The Victoria (BC) Times-Columnist reports that a rare variant copy of the 1611 King James Bible owned by the Greater Victoria Public Library will go under the hammer at Sotheby's in June. In this variant, the word "he" is used where "she" should have been in Ruth 3:5 ("And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do"), increasing the book's value greatly. Other copies of the "He" Bible have sold for up to $400,000. The paper reports that Sotheby's "was so keen to auction the book", they reduced their commission rate on it, and will begin the bidding at $40,000.

Proceeds of the sale will create an endowment at the library to honor former newspaper editor T. Harry Wilson, who donated the Bible in 1944. Until recently, the book was stored in a "regular storage room" in the library; after discovering the item, the staff realized they couldn't care for it properly and decided to put it up for sale.

About fifty copies of this variant are known to exist (38 are listed in ESTC).