Rare Psalm book may sell for $30 million

Psalm Book

By Kristen Kiraly

NEW YORK (CNN) — A rare copy of the first book printed in what is now the United States of America may sell for as much as $30 million when it comes up for auction in November, according to Sotheby’s.

Congregational Puritans first published the Bay Psalm Book in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate for one of 11 remaining copies ranges from $15 million to $30 million.

The last time a Bay Psalm Book appeared at auction was in 1947.

“The Bay Psalm Book is a mythical rarity. Unseen on the marketplace for more than two generations, it has become too rare to collect,” said David Redden of Sotheby’s books department in a press release. “Yet here it is today.”

According to Sotheby’s, the Puritans wanted a version of the Psalms that was a closer paraphrase of the Hebrew original than the one they brought from England.

The copy to be auctioned on November 26 is one of two that come from the collection of Old South Church in Boston.

Members of the church voted last December to put one copy up for auction in order to enhance finances and ministries.

The book will be on display at Sotheby’s in New York until Sunday. From there, it will travel around the country, making stops in Philadelphia, Chicago Dallas, and Los Angeles.

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