King James Bible, The Louis Silver Copy

Collection ID



Bible - Printed Book




London, (England)




Printed on Paper


17 × 11 × 4.25 in. (43.2 × 27.9 × 10.8 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

This first edition King James Bible was printed in large folio format by Robert Barker. In 1604, King James I approved the work of a new translation, which would be based on the Bishops’ Bible of 1602. Over five years, six committees revised the Old Testament, New Testament, and Deuterocanonical books. Considered one of the most influential English texts, this copy contains the frontispiece engraved by Cornelis Boel, the New Testament title page, biblical genealogies, and an engraved map of the Holy Land. Shortly after its printing, this copy belonged to a close friend of King James I, Sir George Moore, and today is the tallest copy known. It is nicknamed the Silver Copy because this copy belonged to a well-known book collector, Louis Silver, in the 1900s.

Printed in 1611 by Robert Barker, London, England. Acquired by Sir George Moore (1553–1632), England.[1] Acquired before 1964 by Louis H. Silver, Chicago, Illinois;[2] Purchased in 1964 by Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois;[3] Purchased at auction in 1965 by Dr. Charles Ryrie;[4] Purchased at auction in 2016 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma;[5] Donated in 2019 to The Signatry under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Sir George Moore was a close friend of King James I and a member of the English parliament. [2] This King James Bible was part of the lifework of Louis Silver, a lawyer, engineer, and hotel owner. Before his death, Silver prepared his collection for sale with the help of John Fleming, a friend and rare book dealer who helped Silver amass much of his collection. [3] Purchased by Newberry Library for 2.75 million dollars on March 14, 1964. John Fleming served as the agent for the disposal of the collection. Before the Newberry Library purchased it, the collection was in the process of being acquired by The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas. When that deal fell through, Newberry Library was able to acquire the collection. [4] After Newberry Library acquired the Silver collection, duplicates were sold. Sold at Sotheby’s London on November 8, 1965, Lot 28. Purchased for Dr. Charles Ryrie by John Fleming, a telegraph sent that evening to Ryrie from Fleming states, “bought King James fiftyfive hundred.” [5] Purchased at Sotheby’s New York on December 5, 2016.

Questions about our Collections?

Visit Contact Us Page

(866) 430-MOTB

To acquire permission to use this image, please visit our Rights and Reproduction page .

More From The Collections

Carey Bible, First Edition

Bible - Printed Book
United States

Great Bible Portion with Carved Wooden Cover

Bible - Printed Book
Likely 1569
London, (England)

Captured Civil War New Testament

Bible - Printed Book
Oxford, (England)
© Museum of the Bible 2024
Designed by PlainJoe