A copy of the “Bay Psalm Book”, the first book printed in the United States, has been sold for $US 14.165 million (including buyer’s premium) by Sotheby’s at auction in New York – making it the world’s most expensive printed book.
The book, a translation of Biblical psalms, was printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 by Puritan settlers who set about making their own preferred translation from the Hebrew original of the Old Testament book after arriving from Europe. There were originally 1700 copies of the original addition but only eleven are known to have survived.
The book was sold by the Old South Church in Boston. The same church has another copy of the “Bay Psalm Book.”
It was bought by David Rubenstein, a billionaire American financier and philanthropist, who was in Australia and placed his bid by phone. In 2007, Mr Rubenstein purchased one of 17 existing parchment copies of the 800 year old “Magna Carta” for $US 21.3 (including buyer’s premium).