A rare copy of the Bible that orders people to commit adultery is to be sold at an auction The almost 400-year-old tome known as the Sinners’ Bible or Wicked Bible has an embarrassing typo which makes the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt commit adultery. The historic text, produced by royal printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas in 1631, is expected to fetch £15,000. The gaffe was only discovered a year after this version was produced and 1,000 copies distributed throughout Britain
Simon Roberts, from Bonhams’ books and manuscript department, told The Mail: “There are a few theories about how the error made it into print. “It may have been a simple slip up but others think it was a plot to sabotage Barker’s reputation.” King Charles I ordered the copies to be withdrawn and burnt – but a handful survived. He also summoned the pair to Star Chamber in Westminster and stripped them of their licence and imposed a stiff fine of £300 – equivalent to about £44,600 today. Barker ran up debts and was imprisoned in 1635, and died behind bars ten years later. The Archbishop of Canterbury George Abbot said: “I knew the tyme [sic] when great care was had about printing, the Bibles especially, good compositors and the best correctors were gotten being grave and learned men, the paper and the letter rare, and faire every way of the beste, but now the paper is nought, the composers boyes, and the correctors unlearned.” Nine copies of the holy book are believed to be left in existence.
The auction will take place on November 11 at Bonhams in London.