What Are the Most Valuable First-Edition Books Ever Sold?

What Are the Most Valuable First-Edition Books Ever Sold?

While all classic literature has immense value to the human race, some volumes stand out. Whether you are the lucky heir of a book collector, or a just a bibliophile like us, take a look at several of these lucky first-edition books who achieved more than fame—a costly price tag.

The Gospel of Henry the Lion

A true masterpiece, the first edition of The Gospel of Henry the Lion was priced at a whopping $11.7 million USD in 1983. When adjusted for inflation, this book is now worth $29.86 million dollars. It is incredible to think that an item in a library could be worth the same amount as a small, private jet. If you aren’t familiar with this infamous manuscript, The Gospel of Henry the Lion is an accumulation of the four gospels, complete with fifty detailed, full-page illustrations. It was originally intended to sit on an altar dedicated to the virgin Mary at Brunswick’s Cathedral in Germany. Now it belongs to the German government thanks to federal funds and other devoted donors.

The Book of Mormon

And no, this is not referring to the Broadway Musical. The Book of Mormon acts as the scriptural keystone for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—also known as Mormons. Before it finally found its home at LDS church headquarters, the first-edition Book of Mormon was owned by the Community of Christ. However, after remaining in the hands of the Community of Christ for 114 years, the LDS church spent a massive $35 million USD and purchased the original book in 2017.

The St. Cuthbert Gospel

Another one of the most expensive first-edition books ever sold was the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It is a small, pocket-sized transcript of the Gospel of John in Latin. In fact, it is known as one of the smallest, oldest surviving manuscripts. Though it boasts 1,3000 years of age, the leather binding remains in remarkably good condition. The British Library in London recently purchased it for $14 million.

The Codex of Leicester

Now, for the most expensive of them all—the Codex of Leicester. This 72-page linen manuscript written by Leonardo da Vinci himself was sold to the billionaire, Bill Gates, in 1994. If you aren’t familiar with da Vinci’s codex of Leicester, it is a 500-year-old compilation of his own personal theories, including his famous hypotheses and observations of the moon and movements of water. Luckily for da Vinci fans, Bill Gates digitally scanned many of its pages for the public to enjoy. The Codex of Leicester was sold for $30.8 million, which inflates to a $52.8 million-dollar current value!

While all of these expensive first editions found their rightful resting places, that shouldn’t stop you from investing in the world’s greatest literature. For most of us, the value of a book is in the words, not the copy. But then, you never know whether that old novel might be worth hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars sometime in the future.

Are you curious to discover whether your book collection has monetary value? Or is your collection becoming too big to reasonably store? Contact Cash For Your Books and we may be able to pay you real cash to take the collection of your hands?