Johann Fust (Faust) of Maintz.
Johann Fust (Faust) of Maintz. A business partner of Gutenberg of printing press fame.

NOT Georg Faust. Although this has been identified as a portrait of the living Faust (www.bildarchivaustria.at), it is actually a portrait of the business partner of Gutenberg, Johann Fust, by Johann Leonhard Blanck.

 

There are similarities between the two men: They are from roughly the same area, and the same time period, and of course; their names are similar, as was their fame or notoriety.

 

Johann Fust was in France selling books off of the Gutenberg press for high prices and making lots of money while keeping the secret of their great invention (cheap books for the masses). No one could believe so many books could be produced, and he was arrested for witchcraft. In order to get the charges dropped, he had to reveal how it was done, and this is how the secret came out – and the price dropped.

 

Still, even if you had bought one of his new Bibles at the old manuscript prices, and kept it in good condition over the last 500 years, you could re-sell it for tens of millions of dollars. You can buy a single page today for only $100,000.