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November 26, 2013

Early American Religious Book Breaks Record at Auction

by VOA News

The first book published in what is today the United States has now become the world's most expensive book.

Sotheby's auction house in New York reported that an extremely rare copy of The Bay Psalm Book sold at auction on Tuesday for $14.2 million.

Early Puritan settlers who arrived in Massachusetts from Europe seeking religious freedom published the book in 1640.

Only 1,700 copies were printed. Of that, 11 are known to remain, including the one that sold Tuesday, which was in the possession of Boston's Old South Church.

Sotheby's identifies the buyer as American businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein. It said he plans to lend the book to libraries across the country.

The previous record price for a book was John James Audubon's Birds of America. It sold for $11.5 million two years ago.