1830 First Edition ”Book of Mormon“

Value (2013) | $75,000 Retail$100,000 Retail
Watch  

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.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Sanders Rare Books
Salt Lake City, UT
Appraised value (2013)
$75,000 Retail$100,000 Retail
Event
Boise, ID (June 29, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Form
Book
Material
Leather, Paper

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.