Friday, March 23, 2007

Early Mormon Texts Exceed Estimates

The Orson Pratt-signed first printing of the Book of Mormon and a second printing Mormon hymnal (mentioned here) each sold for $180,000 (including premiums) at the Swann auction in New York yesterday, the Deseret Morning News reports. "Some person or organization in Sale Lake City" purchased the hymnal (if I had to make a guess I'd say it's a pretty safe bet it was the LDS church itself), and a buyer "in the northeastern United States" snagged the Book of Mormon. Both hammer prices exceeded the presale estimates, which were $90,000 for the Book and just $40,000 for the hymnal.

The Morning News notes that these prices are "believed to be among the highest ever paid for historic documents associated with the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The piece also has some typically interesting quotes from book dealer Ken Sanders, who pronounces "you'll be hard-pressed to find any first edition [Book of Mormon] sold for less than $100,000." Given this particular copy's provenance I'm not sure I'd go that far, but Ken knows his business and the LDS market. Some underbidders for both items are also quoted on the high prices attained at yesterday's sale.