published Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Psalm book fetches record $14.2 million at New York auction

This April 2013 file photo provided by Sotheby's and taken in New York shows what the auction house describes as "the world’s most valuable book," the Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book ever printed in what is now the United States.
This April 2013 file photo provided by Sotheby's and taken in New York shows what the auction house describes as "the world’s most valuable book," the Bay Psalm Book, which is the first book ever printed in what is now the United States.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK — A tiny book of psalms from 1640 has sold for $14.2 million in New York City, setting an auction record for a printed book.

The Bay Psalm Book is believed to be the first book printed in what's now the United States. Only 11 copies survive in varying degrees of completeness.

The book sold at Sotheby's auction house in Manhattan on Tuesday evening was one of two copies held by Boston's Old South Church.

It was bought by American businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein, who plans to lend it to libraries around the country. Its presale estimate was $15 million to $30 million.

A copy of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" was the previous record-holder. It sold for $11.5 million at Sotheby's in 2010.

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