The Mainz indulgences of 1454/5: a review of recent scholarship - British Library Research Repository
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The Mainz indulgences of 1454/5: a review of recent scholarship



THE earliest extant piece of European printing from movable type with which an absolute date can be associated is a Papal Letter of Indulgence which bears the printed date 1454 and the handwritten purchase date 22 October 1454. Forty-nine other printed copies of this Indulgence are known, some unsold and thus lacking purchase dates; the rest have dates ranging from 25 October 1454 to 30 April 1455. The Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke distinguishes thirteen variants, grouped under two editions: the 30-line Indulgence(GW6555), hereafter called I 30 (fig. i), and the 31-line Indulgence (GW6556), hereafter called I 31. Neither form of the Indulgence gives any indication as to printer or place of printing. In the Gesamtkatalog I 30 is assigned to the 'Printer of the 42-line Bible' and I 31 to the 'Printer of the 36-line Bible'; little added information concerning the printer(s) of the Indulgences is provided by the Gesamtkatalog entries for the 42-line Bible(GH4201), assigned to the 'Printer of the 42-line Bible (Johann Gutenberg)', or the 36-line Bible [GW 202) assigned to the 'Printer of the 36-line Bible'.


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  • Resource type

    Journal article

  • Institution
    • British Library

  • Journal title
    • British Library Journal

  • Volume
    • 1983

  • Article number
    • 2

  • Publisher
    • British Library

  • Place of publication
    • London, UK

  • ISSN
    • 2056-2829

  • Official URL
  • Rights statement
  • Rights holder
    • British Library Board