This Book Could Be the Most Expensive Ever Sold

Among printed books, that is

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 18, 2013 10:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – If the auctioneers selling it off are to be believed, an almost pocket-sized book of Bible verses is set to sell for as much as $30 million. That's because it's not any old book—it's one of 11 remaining copies of the Bay Psalm Book, which is believed to be the first book printed in America. The Plymouth Pilgrims printed 1,700 copies in 1640 on a press shipped over from London, in an attempt to create a translation of the Book of Psalms that was more faithful to the original Hebrew than their English editions, the BBC explains.

"The Bay Psalm Book is a mythical rarity," a Sotheby's official says. "With it, New England declared its independence from the Church of England." If it does fetch $30 million, it'll be by far the priciest printed book ever sold; the current record is $11.5 million (click for more on that book). Boston's Old South Church is selling it to fund its grants, ministries, and general operations, the AP reports. The church once had five copies, but has sent one each to the Library of Congress, Yale, and Brown University; it's holding on to one. The auction is set for Nov. 26.

What auctioneers are calling ‘the world’s most valuable book,’ the Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book ever printed in what is now the United States, is seen in this publicity photo.
What auctioneers are calling ‘the world’s most valuable book,’ the Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book ever printed in what is now the United States, is seen in this publicity photo.   (AP Photo/Sotheby's)
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