History

Bay Psalm Book, published in 1640s, sets new world record after selling for more than $15m at auction

The first book printed in what is today the USA has sold for more than $15 million at auction in New York, becoming the world’s most expensive printed book.

A translation of Biblical psalms, The Bay Psalm Book was printed by Puritan settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640.

One of only 11 surviving copies from the original 1,700, it was sold at a one-lot auction in just minutes by Sotheby’s.

Bidding opened at $US6 million and closed swiftly at a hammer price of $US12.5 million, rising to $US14.165 million (around $15.5 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 the small crowd who attended the auction.

The bidding lasted less than five minutes, and was won buy David Rubenstein, a billionaire American financier and philanthropist — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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