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Book of Psalms, First Book Printed in the US, Sold for $14.2 Million

The tiny English translation of a religious text, the Bay Psalm Book, has sold at a Sotheby's auction

By: Daniel Koren
Published: November 27th, 2013 in News » World
The $14.2 million Book of Psalms

A miniature book of psalms, which scholars and researchers report is from the year 1640, has sold for a whopping $14.2 million at a Sotheby's auction, setting a new record for the price paid at an auction for a book.

John James Audubon's Birds of America was the previous record holder, sold for $11.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2010.

Sotheby's has described the Bay Psalm Book, believed to be the first publication ever printed in what is know the United States of America, as the 'world's most valuable book'.

It was first published in Cambridge, Massachusetts a mere twenty years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth.

Auctioned at Sotheby's in Manhattan, the book's pre-sale estimate was priced from anywhere between $15 million to $30 million.

The text is one of eleven copies of the Bay Psalm Book, and was once owned by Boston's Old South Church, according to the Economic Times. The church, established in 1669, hosted some very distinguished members, including Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, who was baptized there.

The church's Rev. Nancy Taylor was delighted by the purchase, and called the book "arguably one of the most important books in this nation's history."

American businessman/philanthropist David Rubenstein acquired the book at the auction, and apparently plans to lend it to libraries across the country.

Other copies of the Bay Psalm Book, also originally owned by the Old South Church, are now housed at the Library of Congress, Yale University and Brown University.

Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Hammer, his personal notebook of scientific writings and diagrams, holds the record for largest sale price at an auction, sold for $30.8 million at Christie's auction house in 1994.

Related articles: Psalms, Religion, Torah, Jewish News, Sotheby's, Auction, David Rubenstein
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