Wednesday, November 27, 2013

America's First Printed Book: $14.2 Million

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

The Bay Psalm Book, a translation of Biblical psalms, is seen at Sothebys in New York on Nov. 26, 2013. The book, printed by Puritan settlers in Massachusetts in 1640, was sold for more than $14 million, becoming the worlds most expensive book.
  • "The Bay Psalm Book," a translation of Biblical psalms, is seen at Sotheby's in New York on Nov. 26, 2013. The book, printed by Puritan settlers in Massachusetts in 1640, was sold for more than $14 million, becoming the world's most expensive book.

It's believed to be America's first printed book. And now it's the world's most expensive.

The Bay Book of Psalms, a translation of Biblical psalms published in 1640, sold for a record $14.2 million the night of Nov. 26 at Sotheby's in New York, setting a new world auction record for any book.

The previous record of $11.5 million was set in December 2010 for John James Audubon's Birds of America.

The tiny volume of psalms is one of only 11 known to have survived out of roughly 1,700 printed by 17th-century Puritans in Massachusetts. It actually predates the founding of the United States, according to The New York Times.

It was one of two owned by Boston's Old South Church, which voted to sell it to increase its grants and ministries.

David M. Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group, an investment firm in Washington, D.C., purchased the piece of history. He plans to loan it to libraries across the U.S. before it will be put on long-term loan to one of them.

Rubenstein has bought a number of historical documents in recent years, including a copy of the Magna Carta for $21 million in 2007.


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