A first edition of the Book of Mormon printed in upstate New York sold for more than $50,000 in an auction on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.
Swann Auction Galleries in Manhattan said the rare 1830 edition had an estimated price of $40,000 to $60,000, and was ultimately sold for $52,500. The first edition of the Book of Mormon was released just days before the official organization of the Church on April 6, 1830.
KUTV was able to contact the buyer, Matthew K., who lives in Draper, Utah. KUTV reported that Matthew has done a lot of research on the first edition of the Book of Mormon and was “was pleased to come across this copy because of how clean the pages are,” which increases the value.
Matthew bought the book for personal use and said, “You should always invest in what you believe in. So why not invest in something you love.” He plans to keep it for him and his family to treasure for years to come.
The book was published in Palmyra, New York, where Joseph Smith’s family had a farm, and was translated by Joseph Smith from gold plates.
The “Bible Detective”
Matthew K. is not the only man known to buy and treasure rare books. Reid Moon, also known as the “Bible Detective,” has spent more than 25 years tracking rare books, Bibles, and artifacts from around the globe.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Moon’s specialties are rare Mormon books, Bible antiquities, and literature classics. He is also an expert in authenticating copies of the Book of Mormon.
His collection began on a trip to England in 1989, where he bought his first old Bible for $500. When he returned to Texas, he sold the text to a customer for $1,250 and realized he could buy more rare books with the profit he made.
“I’m always looking for a book with a story,” he said. “If it belonged to someone historically significant, I’m fascinated by [what] they chose to keep in their libraries.”
Moon is one of a few dozen antiquarian book dealers in the world and acquires new artifacts at auction. He also competes against the British Library, which has one of the largest rare book collections. He currently has an office in Zion’s Mercantile at The Riverwoods in Provo, Utah.