America’s first printed book, “The Bay Psalm” sold for $14.2 million this past week at a Sotheby’s New York auction. The hefty price tag set a world record for the most expensive printed book. Printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts along with 1,700 other copies, the auctioned copy of “The Bay Psalm” is considered to be in the finest quality of all 11 remaining editions.
Philanthropist and co-founder of the Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, won the coveted manuscript last Tuesday. He revealed his generous plan to loan the book to libraries throughout the country before choosing one to house the exceptional book long term. David Redden, chairman of Sotheby’s book department told Reuters, “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.”
A few of the remaining editions of “The Bay Psalm” can be viewed at Yale University, Harvard University and the Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.