Psalm book up for auction

A rare American psalm book is to be auctioned in November this year, by the Old South Church in Boston. Only 11 out of of the 1,700 copies that were printed in 1640 have survived. A previous copy came up at auction in 1947 and raised $151,000 US and this latest copy is expected to raise $30 million US.

The 'Bay Psalm Book' is said to be the first ever bound book printed in the new world. The book was printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the congregationalist puritans using funds, a printing press, paper and printer all sent from England. By 1700, Boston had over from Oxford and Cambridge to become the second most productive printing centre, just behind London.

Ref: 4-8433, showing the interior of St Jude's Church, Avondale with psalm & hymn boards (on left), Sir George Grey Special Collections
Money from the sale of the psalm book will be used by the church for outreach programmes and towards the upkeep of the historic church. The book will tour America before being auctioned by Sotheby's in New York.

Auckland Libraries holds a 1956 copy of the 'Bay Psalm Book' in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Central City Library and a number of other psalm related heritage resources which can be browsed through by subject in the heritage collections around the region.