1830 First Edition "Book of Mormon"
Appraised Value: $75,000 - $100,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
Books & Manuscripts
Ken Sanders Rare Books
GUEST: It's been in our family since 1833. It is a first edition of the Book of Mormon. My great-great-grandfather received it in Massachusetts and brought it out west through Missouri and finally to Salt Lake and then Oregon.
APPRAISER: Well, the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York, in 1830. There were five early editions of the Book of Mormon published that are extremely significant to the LDS faith, the first edition of 1830 being the most important, but also the 1837 Kirtland, the 1840 Nauvoo, the 1841 Liverpool and the 1842 Nauvoo. So this has been continuously in your family since three years after the birth of Mormonism. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing on there?
GUEST: Yes, the first part was from my great-great-grandfather, and he dated it there, November 30, 1833, that he received it from some gentleman from Ohio and signed it.
APPRAISER: Was your family... they were early converts to the newly created LDS church?
GUEST: Yes, that's when he joined was in 1833.
APPRAISER: It's really quite remarkable because in my almost four decades in the rare book business, this is the oldest copy in the sense of being under continuous ownership that I have ever come across before.
GUEST: Yeah, it's a real family heirloom in that each of the people that have owned it have signed it, and there's five signatures in there.
APPRAISER: From 1833 on down.
GUEST: Until now, when mine is in there.
APPRAISER: It isn't technically the rarest of the editions of the Book of Mormon, but for LDS people, it's the one that everyone knows and understands and wants. Have you had it appraised for insurance purposes, or...?
GUEST: No, I haven't had it appraised. I did have some preservation work done on it. He gave me some guesstimates, but didn't really have a solid number.
APPRAISER: Well, the conservation work that's been done on the book is very professional. It's very good. It's really very minor.
GUEST: I've been amazed at how good it's held together because I guess it was bound in lambskin.
APPRAISER: Pig, actually.
GUEST: Oh, pig, yeah.
APPRAISER: Would you like to know the value of the book?
GUEST: Yeah, I would.
APPRAISER: As an 1830 first edition Book of Mormon, I would value this at $75,000 at retail.
GUEST: That's amazing.
APPRAISER: With the family provenance and genealogy in it and the unusual condition, for insurance purposes, I'd suggest the book has a value of around $100,000.
GUEST: That's good to know. It's an heirloom that I wouldn't want to lose.
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