A copy of the Bay Psalm Book could be the world’s most expensive book at $30 million
A copy of the Bay Psalm book, dating back to 1640 known to be one of the 11 surviving copies today, is stated to become the most expensive book in the world, with an estimated value of $30 million. Stated to be put up for auction in November , this rare copy is known to be one of the first printed copies in the United States, and has been in the possession of the Old South Church in Boston, where one more such copy is known to exist. However, the other copy will not be put up for auction, as it will be kept as a heirloom object passed on from the 5th Minister of the church, Reverend Thomas Prince. However, if this book realizes the estimated value at the Sotheby’s auction, it will sit on the top of the list of the most expensive books, a title earlier held by the ‘Birds of America’, created by John James Audubon.
David Redden, Vice-Chairman of the Sotheby’s auction house has gone on record to say that, this is by far the most expensive book they will ever see exchange hands this November. Since the lower end of the estimated value stands at $15 million, he feels that the actual winning bid just might exceed the amount, as books far lesser rare have fetched near about this price, in the region of $11.5 million. What also makes it very desirable, is the fact that only 1,700 copies were printed originally out of which, only 11 are known to exist. Many institutions like Princeton and University of Texas are known keen to be ale to own a copy, as it relates to a historical time in America. It came into existence at a time, when America was still a colony of the British empire, and the Bay Psalm became the first American book to be published in America.
The Old South Church, who will be getting the funds from the auction, will be using it to repair and maintain it’s ministries. It will also divert funds towards care for the 2,000 other such rare books which are under it’s possession. However, for the benefit of the audience, there will be a tour of the book at different sites, where one can go and see what the priced hymn book is. The popularity it has amongst the collectors, definitely dwarfs other publications like the first edition luxury books we recently came across.