Oxford Bibles, circa 1955

In December 1955, Life magazine devoted a special issue to Christianity. It included an advertisement for Oxford Bibles, which I’ve reproduced below. The headline reads: “Since 1675 … in Bibles one name has signified the finest craftsmanship, the highest quality, the extra care that distinguishes the best. Oxford. America’s Gift Bible. Since 1675.”
Three editions of the KJV are highlighted. First, there’s the 01467x Morocco, Ultrathin Oxford India Paper, 4 1/4 x 6 3/8 x 7/8″, with a choice of five colors, retailing for $13.00. Black is shown. The more upscale 01530x hardback is bound in Polished Morocco with Ultrathin Oxford India Paper and measures 5 x 7 1/4 x 3/4″, available in three colors for $16.50. The edition illustrated in the ad seems to be brown with gilt details. Finally, there’s the 01558x Persian with Ultrathin Oxford India Paper, measuring 5 1/2 x 7 1/4 x 1 1/8″, with two ribbons. This one is also available in three colors — the one in the ad seems to be red.
Oxford Bible Advert
At the bottom of the ad: “More than 200 styles priced from $2.15 to $265.00.” Intrigued? I am.

6 Comments on “Oxford Bibles, circa 1955

  1. Mark, I really don’t see a place to post this because the Allan threads are pretty old. But Evangelical Bible had some updates on the new ESV1 that caused me to buy it. Maybe it’s time for an Allan’s countdown thread or something!
    http://evangelicalbible.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12_114
    Number 1, the font is supposedly even more readable than the last printing. I wasn’t wild about buying another Bible with 9 pt. font, but since they are saying the text is more readable, I decided to take a chance. As you have said before, the darkness or boldness of the font is important for readability and not just font size. So many of the Crossway versions have such light print!
    The other think I liked was that they did away with the lined paper at the back and just put the maps. I much prefer to keep notes in a notebook and allow the Bible to be a little thinner.
    So this information made it worth it to me to place the order! I just thought I’d share that news! Thank you for this great site! It has been truly helpful to me!

  2. I would love to see what a Bible that could draw a price of $265 in 1955 looks like! A new Cadillac back then was a round $3000.00. So, if one can translate these things this Bible would probably cost about $10,000 today. I can’t imagine what this edition must be like.

  3. I would imagine that the $265 Bible was a presentation Pulpit Bible, the type that you see displayed at the front of many churches.

  4. I don’t have a 1955 Oxford bible catalog, but I do have one from 1927-1928. It lists their most expensive Bible at $78.00 as follows: Oxford Pulpit and Lodge Bible–Great Primer Imperial 4to Bible–Closed 15 x13 x4 1/2 inches, Open 19 1/4 x 28 3/4 inches. Red Levant Morocco, bevelled cover, round corners, gold edges, gilt fillet, three silk bookmarks. The same Bible could be purchased for $72.00 in black instead of red. This is a saleman’s sample catalog that I picked up on ebay. It has actual pages from all their different Bible styles so one can compare the type and paper and size differences. It also has pictures of all their different leather styles, bindings, cover lettering. You’d be surprised at how much has not changed from then until now–I certainly was.

  5. Good day,
    I have a bible from 1939.
    It reads:
    We send you our best wishes for your welfare & our prayers for early victory.
    The bible is small (Pocket size) with a wooden cover where a cross is carved on the front page.

    • Gift in 1950s. Label inside indicates “Persian. Size 3 5/8 ” x 51/2 “, India paper, Seems to be black pebbled leather cover, India paper, Old & New Testament King James.”Oxford at the University Press”, black ribbon finder, includes color map of Journeys of Apostle Paul.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>