A Jewish philanthropist has purchased a religious book at auction for $14.2 million, setting a new world record for a printed book.
American businessman David Rubenstein purchased the Bay Psalm Book, one of 11 remaining copies of the first book ever printed in the US. It dates to 1640, and was published at a Cambridge, MA printing press.
It is considered one of the rarest books in the world.
“We are thrilled that this book, which is so important to our history and culture, is destined to be widely seen by Americans who can appreciate its singular significance,” said David Redden, chairman of Sotheby’s books department, which handled the auction.
“We are of course also thrilled to have achieved a new world auction record price for any printed book, which affirms that books remain a vital part of our culture.”
The book was previously in the ownership of Boston’s Old South Church, which still owns a second copy of the volume. The last copy of the Bay Psalm Book to sell was in 1947, when the book also set an auction record, selling for $151,000.
The other remaining copies are owned by educational institutions, like Harvard and Yale.