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November 27, 2013

1640 psalm book brings $14.2M

(Continued)

Historians believe an almanac may have come off the press before the Bay Psalm Book. But Mark Dimunation, chief of rare books and special collections at the Library of Congress, has said the almanac was more of a pamphlet or a broadsheet rather than a book. No copy of the almanac exists today. He noted that in the Americas, in general, books were printed in what is now Mexico as early as 1539.

“American poetry, American spirituality and the printed page all kind of combine and find themselves located in a single volume,” Dimunation said of the Bay Psalm Book.

The last time a copy came on the auction block, in 1947, it sold for a record auction price of $151,000. At the time, it surpassed auction prices for the Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare’s First Folio and Audubon’s “Birds of America.”

The book was bought by American businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein, who plans to lend it to libraries around the country.

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