The first book printed in what is today the U.S. sold for $14 million at auction here on Tuesday, becoming the world’s most expensive printed book.
The translation of Biblical psalms “The Bay Psalm Book” was printed by Puritan settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 and sold in just minutes.
Bidding opened at $6 million and closed at a hammer price of $12.5 million, rising to $14.165 million once the buyer’s premium was incorporated. The book, with its browning pages and gilt edges, was displayed in a glass case behind the auctioneer to a relatively small crowd who attended the less than five-minute auction in person.
The settlers, who came to America to seek religious freedom, had set about making their own preferred translation from the Hebrew original of the Old Testament book after arriving from Europe.
Sotheby’s named the buyer as David Rubenstein, the billionaire American financier and philanthropist. Sotheby’s had valued the book at $15-30 million, but denied any disappointment in the sale price reached Tuesday. — AFP