First book ever printed in America up for auction
And it could fetch as much as thirty million dollars
The Bay Psalm Book, which was printed in Massachusetts in 1640, is one of 11
remaining copies of a translated version of the Book of Psalms.
The Bay Psalm Book was written by pilgrims 20 years after they established a
colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Colonists John Cotton, Richard Mather and John Eliot, who wrote the book,
wanted a version of the psalms which they believed was closer to the original
Hebrew than the ones they had brought with them from England.
"The Bay Psalm Book is a mythical rarity," said Sotheby's David Redden.
"With it, New England declared its independence from the Church of England,"
Funds for the printing press were raised in England.
The 1640 edition of the Bay Psalm Book is the earliest surviving print from
the press, and was adopted by nearly every congregation in the Massachusetts Bay
There were 1,700 copies of the original Bay Psalm Book, of which 11 are now
left in various degrees of completeness.
The book comes from the collection of the Old South Church in Boston which
has two copies of the edition.
Senior minister of the church, Nancy Taylor, said the money from the sale
would help to keep the historic building open and help to increase outreach
The book will tour various cities in the US before the auction on 26