Rare Religious Books

The Jewels of Passover

by Admin on April 17, 2019

At the start of this year’s Holy Week a terrible blaze engulfed Notre-Dame. As I watched the spire of the cathedral fall, I wondered how destructive smoke and flames have often been to books throughout history. Vulnerable older editions from the 16th, 15th and even 13th centuries must have survived the misfortunes brought about by […]


In 1709, John Baskett, purchased the exclusive, royal patent to print Bibles in England. His edition of the Bible is also his most important work and is described by Darlow/Moule as: “A magnificent edition, printed in large type. With many plates at the beginning and end of books, engraved on steel from the designs of […]


The Aitken Bible is one of the most celebrated American Bibles, considered to be the first complete English Bible printed in America. Before the War for Independence, British law gave a monopoly for printing the King James Version of the Bible to the Royal Printer; thus compelling the colonies to buy their Bibles from England. […]

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The Slave Bible

by Admin on March 4, 2016

Privacy concerns have disrupted lives long before investigators attacked Apple for refusing to aid federal agents bypass a security passcode function on a terrorist’s iPhone. These days, anything that happens through our lives is collected, shared, analyzed, marketed and remarketed, sometimes with our consent, and often without. New generations find it hard to imagine a […]


Collectors who buy and sell Bibles have pushed the pricing of older editions printed prior to the 1700’s in Europe, and prior to the 1800’s in North America, to unreachable levels for the majority of liturgical buyers. During the second half of the last century, institutional and private collectors have driven these editions of the […]


The Lombard Gradual

by Laurent Ferri on March 21, 2014

Rare Books Digest is pleased to host Laurent Ferri, Curator of Pre-1800 Collections at Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, presenting the Lombard Gradual. Graduals are large books from which choirs of monks, friars, or nuns chanted prayers and portions of the mass during medieval times. This Latin manuscript on vellum originated […]


Yesterday, the Christie’s auction house sold The Rothchild Prayerbook, a Book of Hours, illuminated manuscript for $13,605,000 with the buyer’s premium. The auction held at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York had  an estimated sale value of $12,000,000-$18,000,000. The book, a masterpiece of Renaissance art, contains lavish  and extensive miniature illustrations of unsurpassed beauty in […]


 …And the world’s most expensive book sale in the history of book trades goes to the Bay Psalm Book owned by the Old South Church. It sold for 33 million US dollars to the auction’s high bidder: the new owner of the rare first book to be printed in America, billionaire collector of biblical books, […]


One of the greatest artifacts of American history, The Whole Booke of Psalmes, commonly known as the Bay Psalm Book, will be auctioned at 7pm on the 26th day of this month at Sotheby’s in New York. The 6-by-5-inch hymnal book’s estimated value was raised by 10 million dollars since the end of last year […]


The St. Cuthbert Gospel (formerly known as the Stonyhurst Gospel) undoubtedly qualifies as the oldest intact European book. It is currently on display in the British Library on long-term loan by both its private owners and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The history of this book is the most dramatic exhumation of any manuscript known to mankind. Made […]