It is said that books are the best friends of a human. They guide us through thick and thin of life, show us a way out of the trouble and sometimes, soothe us and make us feel better. At the same time, books can also be dangerous if not chosen carefully just like friends. Some books can spoil our minds. You might have read a lot of books including science fiction, horror, and romantic. But do you know which the most expensive books in the world are? Here are some of the most expensive and valuable books in the world.
Most Expensive Books in the World
The Gutenberg Bible
This was the first-ever version of the Good Book to be written using moveable-type print, with Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press (hence the name). Despite being mass-produced, the Gutenberg Bible is still amazingly unique and precious, as its $5.4 million price tag makes obvious. Only 48 prints of the original 1450s-printed batch remain today. The buyer of this copy was Maruzen Co. Ltd., a significant Japanese bookseller. At the time, 1987, it set the record for the most expensive book ever bought.
The First Folio
This collection of William Shakespeare’s plays is generally regarded as one of the most important wealth in bookish history. Formally titled “Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies,” the folio includes all but four of Bard’s exciting works. Of the 750 copies formerly published seven years after his death in 1623, only 228 remain. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, took one up at Christie’s, an auction house in New York City, in 2001. It cost him a cool $6.2 million. Also check out the books that turned into famous movies.
The Canterbury Tales
This long-lasting collection of tales from the Middle Ages by fourteenth-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer brought a massive sum of money in 1998—7.5 million dollars, to be precise. The 17,000 lines of The Canterbury Tales tell the account of a various crew of pilgrims who engage in a storytelling competition while on their way to visit a holy shrine. Only 12 original copies still exist today. One ended up in the hands of London book dealers, who bought it for 4.6 million pounds. In 1998, that sum was equal to about five-and-a-half million U.S. dollars.
Bay Psalm Book
Sacred books proceed to fill this list of most expensive books in the world, with the Bay Psalm Book maintaining the trend. This one stands out from its friends, though, because of its prominence as the first book ever published in the British colonies that would become America. In 1640, 20 years after the Pilgrims arrived on Plymouth Rock, the Bay Psalm Book arose from printers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There are almost eleven copies still sound today, mostly in the property of libraries and colleges. One copy, though, has belonged to American businessman David Rubenstein since 2013, when he purchased it at a Sotheby’s auction for $14.2 million. Here are the things we learn from reading books.
St. Cuthbert Gospel
This pocket-sized version of the Gospel of John is one of the eldest surviving models of Western bookbinding. Composed in the eighth century, it used years in the coffin of its namesake, St. Cuthbert, before becoming the property of an English Jesuit school. In the years leading up to its 2012 acquisition, it was on loan to the British Library. The book measures only five-and-a-half by three-and-a-half inches. It may be tiny, but its price tag certainly isn’t; the British Library spent over $10.7 million to acquire it for good at an auction.
The Magna Carta
The Magna Carta, the thirteenth-century agreement that laid the foundation for the fate of the government as we know it, is one of the most popular manuals in history. Generally, it receives a high place on this list. The book was one of the earliest to lay out the idea of fundamental human rights and define the powers of a king. Now, only seventeen copies predating 1300 survive. One sold for a huge $21.3 million at a 2007 auction. The name of the buyer is most likely David Rubenstein, who is also the lucky (or possibly just rich) owner of the Bay Psalm Book.
The Codex Leicester
You might remember this author’s name: Leonardo da Vinci. You might know the buyer’s name as well: Bill Gates. The current record for the most expensive book of all time belongs to this 72-page journal filled with the Renaissance genius’s notes and theories. At the beginning of the 1700s, the Codex was bought by the Earl of Leicester, hence its name. In 1980, an art collector purchased it from the Leicester estate, and none other than Bill Gates purchased it from the collector in 1994. The Codex set Gates back a neat $30.8 million. Gates chose to share his investment with the world and did it in the most Bill Gates way probable: he scanned the pages of the book and converted them into a Windows 95 screensaver.