“There is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing” – Isaac D’Israeli

The above quote truly depicts the value of reading. Reading gives pleasure to the soul of one who delves into knowledge in the most basic sense. In the past, people spent long hours reading books, a culture that is on the decline. Back then, reading was the most popular form of pastime. Today, technology and modern invented devices are the new sources of entertainment. 

Books were incomparable to the seeking minds who wonder. Dating back centuries ago, here are the most expensive books in the world.  

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.” -Abraham Lincoln

Bay Psalm Book.


Bay Psalm BookSold at Sotheby’s auction during the November of 2013, Bay Psalm Book was auctioned to philanthropist David Rubenstein for $14.2 million dollars. The book was printed in the year 1640. Of the few copies of this book ever printed, Old South Boston Church had five copies. The previous copy was sold way back in 1947 for $151,000. This book has caused a lot of commotion as it is a very special. Over 1,700 copies were printed, but only 11 of which survived the test of time. 

The First Book of Urizen.

This book was authored by William Blake and originally printed in1794. Blake’s prophetic works were a series, making The First Book of Urizen as one of his most famous pieces. The book was Sold at a Sotheby’s New York auction in 1999. It was bid at $2.5 million at the time. The copy is said to be one out of the eight surviving copies to date.

First Folio.

Surely a valuable piece of the widely known William Shakespeare’s works, First Folio is a rare find for book collectors. It is considered a treasure. Originally, there were 750 copies of the book, but only 228 copies have survived to date. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bid for it at $6.1 million in 2001.

The Canterbury Tales.

A work of Geoffrey Chaucer, the first edition of The Canterbury Tales was originally printed around the 15th century. Only a dozen copies were printed 1477, one of which was sold for £4.6 million in 1998, an equivalent of $7.5 million at the time. The copy was the last to be owned privately by first Earl Fitzwilliam in 1776.

Birds of America.

The book by James Audubon originally had a total of 119 copies printed worldwide. One copy was auctioned in 2000 for $8.8 million. Another first edition copy went for £7.3 million in 2010, an equivalent of $11.5 million. Just recently, though, a four-volume set surfaced up to be auctioned by Christie’s and will surely be worth much more than the previous.

The Gospels of Henry the Lion, Order of Saint Benedict.

A Romanesque masterpiece of a 12th-century manuscript, this 266 pages contains 50 full page illustrations. The copy was sold by Sotheby’s to the German government after winning bid of £8.1 million ($11.7 million) in 1983. This gospel book was originally written by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, for the altar of Virgin Mary at Brunswick Cathedral.

Codex Leicester.


This is more of a journal rather than a book but is the most expensive ever sold to date. Bill Bates bought the book for a whopping $30 million in 1994. This journal contains 72 pages of scientific theories and wonders of the world of none other than Leonardo da Vinci. People view the book as the most notable journals by da Vinci. It was first purchased by Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester, in 1717 and later bought by Armand Hammer in 1980.

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” –Walt Disney

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