Book of Psalms From 17th Century Sells for $14.2 Million, Sets Record for Printed Book

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(Photo: Bay Psalm Book sold for just under .2 million in an auction this week.

A book of Psalms, dating back from 1640, has sold for $14.2 million on Tuesday and is believed to have set a new auction record for printed books.

Despite its record-setting figure, the Bay Psalm Book sold for almost a million dollars less than the $15 million minimum at which appraisers had estimated it. Some had believed it had the potential to sell for as much as $30 million.

David Rubeinstein, a businessman and philanthropist, bought the book with the intention of loaning the book to American libraries.

The "Bay Psalm Book" was one of 11 existing copies remaining and was sold by Boston's Old South Church, which opted to sell it and fund the institution's existing grants and ministries.

Other versions of the book exist at the Library of Congress and at Yale and Brown. The church has four remaining copies of the Psalm book, which were created by Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

"This is enormous for us," Rev. Nancy Taylor, senior minister of the church, told The Associated Press. "It is life-changing for the ministries we can do."

The previous record holder for a printed book was a copy of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" that sold for $11.5 million in 2010, which like "The Bay Psalm Book," was also auctioned off at Sotheby's. When a copy of "The Bay Psalm Book" was last auctioned in 1947 for $151,000, it also set a record.

American revolutionary Samuel Adams famously was a member of Old South Church and Benjamin Franklin was baptized there in 1669.