The Ten Most Expensive Mormon Books

The Ten Most Expensive Mormon Books

I have been selling rare Mormon books for almost 30 years. During that time, I’ve seen the price of a first edition Book of Mormon [1830] increase from around $5,000 in the late 1980s to an astonishing $100,000 in 2016. With a six-figure price tag, I think that most people would be surprised to learn that on a list of the “Ten Most Expensive Mormon Books“, a first edition Book of Mormon does not rank at the top–in fact, it comes in at #9!

I have compiled this list with the help of several notable book dealers who also specialize in rare Mormon books. This list will rank the ten most expensive Mormon books and give a price that could be expected to be paid for a copy that is in very good to near fine condition. As with all collectibles, prices can vary dramatically based on condition.

This article appeared first on Meridian Magazine, and is written by Reid N. Moon. Cover image via ldsmag.com

Here is the list of the “Ten Most Expensive Mormon Books“:

1) Book of Commandments [1833]. $1,250,000

image via ldsmag.com

image via ldsmag.com

Many of you know the story of Mary Elizabeth Rollins. She was the young woman who, with the aid of her younger sister Caroline, rescued some of the sheets of the Book of Commandments that had been scattered in the streets after a mob destroyed the press in Independence, Missouri on July 20, 1833. Very few copies have survived. In fact, there are only about 30 known copies–and only eight are in private hands.

At an acquisition price of over a million dollars, the Book of Commandments is the most expensive book on this list. In fact, it could be on almost any list of the “most expensive books“.

2) The Evening and Morning Star [1832-33] $500,000

image via ldsmag.com

image via ldsmag.com

This was the first Mormon newspaper. A prospectus, written by W. W. Phelps, indicated that this paper would be devoted to “the revelations of God as made known to his servants by the Holy Ghost, at sundry times since the creation of man, but more especially in these last days.” TheEvening and Morning Star contained some the first printed revelations of Joseph Smith. The circulation was very small, perhaps no more than a few hundred copies were printed, and when publication ceased (due to the destruction of the press at Independence) very few complete runs existed. The entire twenty-four issues were reprinted in Kirtland between January 1835 and October 1836. (Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, 1997, 1:32-33). The Kirtland reprint of The Evening and Morning Star is also quite rare and sells for around $150,000.

3) A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Selected by Emma Smith [1835]. $450,000

This was the first LDS (Mormon) hymnal. The publication of this hymnal had its beginnings in a revelation received by Joseph Smith in July 1830 in which the prophet’s wife, Emma Smith, was designated to make a selection of hymns for the use of the Church. This revelation is now recorded in Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

This small, pocket-sized hymnal contains the text of ninety hymns. Of the ninety hymns, most were borrowed from contemporary Christian hymn books–including seventeen written by Isaac Watts. Thirty-five of the ninety were written by members of the Church–including 26 by W. W. Phelps, three by Parley P. Pratt, one by Thomas B. Marsh and Parley P. Pratt, and one each by Eliza R. Snow, Edward Partridge, and Philo Dibble. (Crawley, 1:57-59).”The Spirit of God” by W. W. Phelps was hymn #90–the last in the hymnal–and it had six, not four verses. There are fewer than ten copies of this Emma Smith hymnal in private hands.

Find the rest of the books at MERIDIAN MAGAZINE.

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