How much would you pay for an iron-clad excuse to cheat on your significant other(s)? If you have close to $25,000 laying around, you’re in luck: One of the world’s ten known remaining copies of the “Wicked Bible” is going on sale next month.
The Guardian reports that the bible—printed in the 1600s, missing the very important word “not” in the relevant of the ten commandments—may have been the basis for lots of sin-doing when it was first printed. (I mean, what are you gonna do? Argue with God?) The bible goes on sale November 11th and Bonhams is putting an asking price of 10 to 15 thousand pounds ($15,000 to $23,000) on it.
And just in case you thought that the typo was completely accidental, Bonhams, the company auctioning off this rare copy of the text, has some pretty juicy evidence for why the mistake exists. From The Guardian:
When it was uncovered, the printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas were summoned by order of Charles I to court, and found guilty. They were also fined £300, and their printing licence removed, with the entire print run of the offending text called in, and the majority destroyed. Around 10 copies are believed to still exist today, according to Bonhams, which will auction a copy of “the infamous and extremely scarce” text next month.
Bonhams said that it has been suggested that the misprint was not error but an act of sabotage, “possibly perpetrated by Barker’s rival Bonham Norton, to politically embarrass Barker”.
The original printing featuring the error was only 1,000 copies, so it’s not like everyone out there was cheating on their wives and husbands (although they probably were, it being the 17th century and all). But it was still enough to ruin Barker, leaving him disgraced and penniless at the time of his death. Bonhams points out that the misprint really could have happened in error, but it’s unlikely, considering how important the ten commandments are to that whole “follow God’s laws” thing.
In fact, Simon Roberts, a specialist with the auction house, told the Guardian that “if you’re going to check 10 things, then you’d think you would check that page.” Can’t really argue with the logic on that one. I’d put insuring you got the commandments right directly behind confirming that the book read Adam and Eve (not Adam and Steve) and checking for the most up-to-date exchange rates to establish that the number of cows required to buy one unmarried daughter was still correct.
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