Most Expensive Book: 1640 Psalms Sells For $14.2 Million

The world’s most expensive book just sold for a record $14.2 million. The 1640 Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in the United States. The book was previously in the possession of a Boston’s Old South Church, which was attended by Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

The rare book is one of 11 known copies of the book. The church’s Reverend Nancy Taylor said it is “one of the most important books in the nation’s history.” Taylor said the church decided to have the book auctioned to raise funds.

As reported by ABC News, the book was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Manhattan. The winning bid was made over the telephone by David Rubenstein, an American philanthropist and businessman. Rubenstein said he will lend the historic book to libraries throughout the nation for display.

The reverend said the profits will allow the church to conduct “life-changing ministries.” Fox News reports the profits will make an “enormous” impact on the church and the work they do.

The world’s most expensive book was published by the Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 1640 psalm book was created as an English translation of the original psalms, which were written in Hebrew.

Mark Dimunation from the Library of Congress said the book combines spirituality and poetry. Although it is impossible to determine if it was actually the first book published in US soil, the designation is widely accepted.

While the psalm book is the most expensive printed book in the world, another book sold for more than double the price in 1994. The Leonardo da Vinci Codex Leicester sold at auction for more than $30 million. However, it was a notebook full of personal notes and drawings rather than a printed and bound book. The da Vinci Codex was purchased by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 1994

For now, the world’s most expensive book is the 1640 Bay Psalm Book. Another copy of the psalm book sold for $151,000 in 1947.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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