Book Published In 1640 Makes Record $14 Million At Auction


NEW YORK – The first bookwritten in what is today theUnited States of Americafetched $14.2 million in NewYork on Tuesday, becoming theworld’s most expensive printedbook sold at auction.The translation of Biblicalpsalms “The Bay Psalm Book”was printed by Puritan settlers inCambridge, Massachusetts in1640 and sold at a one-lot auctionin just minutes bySotheby’s.Bidding opened at $6 millionand closed swiftly at a hammerprice of $12.5 million, rising to$14.165 million once the buyer’spremium was incorporated.The book, with its browningpages and gilt edges,was displayed in a glasscase behind the auctioneerto a relatively smallcrowd which attendedthe less than fiveminuteauction in person.The settlers, who cameto America to seek religiousfreedom, had setabout making their own preferredtranslation from theHebrew original of the OldTestament book after arrivingfrom Europe.Sotheby’s named the buyer asDavid Rubenstein, the billionaireAmerican financier and philanthropist.He was in Australiaand his bid was conductedby telephone.Sotheby’s had valuedthe book at $15-30 million,but denied any disappointmentin the saleprice reached Tuesday.The world’s mostexpensive manuscript,the handwritten CodexLeicester, 72 pages oflargely scientific writings byLeonardo da Vinci, was boughtby Bill Gates in 1994 for $30.8million.Sotheby’s said it was delightedto have set a new world recordfor any printed book at auctionwith the $14.165 million pricetag.