The first book printed in what is today the United States of America sold for $14 million at auction in New York on Tuesday, becoming the world’s most expensive printed book, AFP reports.
The translation of Biblical psalms “The Bay Psalm Book” was printed by Puritan settlers in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1640 and sold at a one-lot auction in just minutes by Sotheby’s.
Bidding opened at $6 million and closed swiftly at a hammer price of $12.5 million, rising to $14.165 million once the buyer’s premium was incorporated.
Sotheby’s named the buyer as David Rubenstein, the billionaire American financier and philanthropist. He was in Australia and his bid was conducted by telephone.
Sotheby’s had valued the book at $15-30 million, but denied any disappointment in the sale price reached Tuesday.
The previous record was $11.5 million, reached when a copy of John James Audubon?s “Birds of America” sold at Sotheby’s in December 2010.
Rubenstein plans to share the psalm book with the American public by loaning it to a number of libraries around the country and placing it on long-time loan to one of them.