1866 Laws of Montana Territory Book

Value (2010) | $10,000 Retail

It's an historical book of the convening of the first territorial legislation in Montana Territory in Virginia City in 1866. We acquired it through the estate of my wife's uncle, who was a lawyer. And his father was a district court judge in Forsyth, Montana. That's as far back as we can trace it. We don't know the lineage before that.

Here in Montana, there's a legendary book called The Vigilantes of Montana, by Dimsdale, that was serialized in 1865 and is considered not only one of the most important books ever published in then Montana Territory, but also the first book published in Montana Territory. And what's interesting about your volume here today, this early territorial law book, it was published and printed in Virginia City, in Montana Territory, in 1866. That makes it one of the most early and significant books ever published in Montana Territory. It's not very pretty to look at.

No, it isn't, it's old.

And it's, unfortunately, is falling apart and is disbound. It still has its rear wrapper, but it's missing its front wrapper. But other than that, it is original and intact. It really needs to be put in the hands of a professional conservator. It ought to have a acid-free custom clamshell box made for it.


In spite of the condition it's in, this is a monumental work in early Montana territorial printing, not to mention it's the first laws in governing of Montana Territory, which was a pretty wild and wooly place back in the 1860s.

It was, it was.

Do you have any idea what an item like this might be worth?

None. It's rare enough that we could find no value whatsoever.

It is an uncommon piece. Very difficult to put a precise price on it, but I believe at retail, this item would fetch $10,000-plus.


And on a good day, it might go for considerably more.

Wow. Now I know what it's worth, I'm going to put it away.

Yeah, you better take good care of it on your watch.

I will, I will. I will.

Appraisal Details

Ken Sanders Rare Books
Salt Lake City, UT
Appraised value (2010)
$10,000 Retail
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)

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