The Church of Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, UT. has recently acquired the near 200-year-old printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon, making it the earliest surviving copy in existence.
The LDS Church paid a record-setting $35 million Monday to buy the printer’s manuscript of the Book from the Community of Christ.
Donors provided all of the money for the purchase made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The two churches jointly announced the sale Wednesday night. Both faiths treasure the document, which is the most complete copy of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon dictated by Joseph Smith to several scribes.
The printer’s manuscript is a handwritten copy of the original manuscript. Smith provided it to the printer, E. B. Grandin, in Palmyra, New York, in 1830, and Grandin used it to set the type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon.
“It’s new territory for any manuscript for sure, or any book,” said Reid Moon, owner of Moon’s Rare Books in Provo, Utah.
“Just to give it a comparable, George Washington’s annotated copy of the Constitution sold for $9.8 million in 2012.”
Moon expected the sale to increase the value of other rare Mormon books and documents.
The Community of Christ is based in Independence, Missouri, and previously was known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Community of Christ bought a collection that included the printer’s manuscript in 1903 for $2,500.
The printer’s manuscript is missing only three lines of text, according to the Community of Christ release.
“We hold the Book of Mormon to be a sacred text like the Bible,” Snow said in a press release. “The printer’s manuscript is the earliest surviving copy of about 72 percent of the Book of Mormon text, as only about 28 percent of the earlier dictation copy survived decades of storage in a cornerstone in Nauvoo, Illinois.”
The Community of Christ’s Presiding Bishopric set the price after evaluating the market for the manuscript with consultants. There were multiple potential buyers, according to the Community of Christ release.