Rare 'Wicked' bible encouraging adultery could sell for $20,000



An extremely rare and blasphemous bible, known as the "Wicked" bible, could sell for more than $20,000 when it’s auctioned next month, according to several reports. It’s one of just a few remaining copies, printed in 1631, which infamously tells readers to commit adultery.

The text mistakenly omits the word "not" from the seventh commandment, meaning that amid appeals like “thou shalt not kill," and “thou shalt not steal,” readers are also informed that “thou shalt commit adultery.”

The error was discovered a year after 10,000 copies were printed.

When it was uncovered, printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas were summoned by order of Charles I to court and found guilty. They were also fined $463, the equivalent of around $61,000 today, and had their printing license removed.

The entire print run of the "Wicked" text was recalled, and the majority were destroyed.

The gaffe eventually led to Barker's downfall, and in 1635 he was imprisoned for racking up huge debts. He spent the next 10 years in and out of prison and died behind bars in 1645.

London's Bonhams auction house said it has been suggested the misprint was not an error but an act of sabotage, “possibly perpetrated by Barker’s rival Bonham Norton, to politically embarrass Barker."

The bible will be auctioned on Nov. 11.