Up until recently, the world’s most expensive printed book was John James Audubon’s “Birds of America”, which was sold at Sotheby’s for $11.5 million. However, the famed auction house recently put the biblical “Bay Psalm Book” under the hammer, which was sold for the mind-boggling price of $14 million. As the first book to be printed in the USA, the Bay Psalm Book is now the most expensive in the world, and it was originally printed by Puritan settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640.
The item was sold by the Old South Church in Boston, which happens to own another copy of the Bay Psalm Book. According to the head of Sotheby’s books, David Redden, “this little book of 1640 was precursor to Lexington and Concord, and, ultimately, to American political independence. With it, New England declared its independence from the Church of England”.
The edition originally included 1,700 copies but only 11 remain intact to this day. Some volumes can be found in prestigious collections such as the Harvard College Library or at the Library of Congress in New York.