Many Christians consider the Bible to be priceless, but there are many copies worth substantially more than their weight in gold.
Esteemed Bible scholar and theologian Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie passed away in February of this year, and his vast collection of rare Bibles and Christian texts was auctioned off this month for a whopping $7.3 million. Ryrie’s collection included many impressive finds, including ancient Greek manuscripts as well as one of only 9 original versions of the King James Bible from 1611.
PJ Media chose 9 of these amazing finds to share, from cheapest to most expensive. Some of them may surprise you — the sticker price surely will.
1. The Holy Bible in English.
Robert Barker, the printer whose shop released the King James Bible, printed many editions of the Holy Bible. Ryrie’s collection included many of them. While not part of the first edition, bibles like this one are just as old, and this version included a very cool map of Canaan, as seen in the photo. Printed in 1613, this bible was sold for $2,250.
2. The “Queen Mary Bible.”
This bible, printed by Edward Whitchurch in 1553, includes a crude drawing of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Estimated to sell between $3,000 and $5,000, it actually went for $10,000.
3. Venetian Bible.
This bible, printed between 1482 and 1483 in Venice, includes the commentary of Nicolaus de Lyra. It sold for $12,500 (estimated between $15,000 and $20,000).
Next Page: One page of the Gospel of Matthew — for $18,750!
4. Coptic Fragment of the Gospel of Matthew.
This fragment of a text cites the Gospel of Matthew in the Egyptian language Coptic. It dates from between 550 and 650 A.D., and was estimated to sell for between $5,000 and $7,000. It actually went for a whopping $18,750.
5. Leaf from the Gutenberg Bible.
This page comes from the Gutenberg Bible printed in 1455, and shows the text 1 Chronicles 8:37-10:14. It sold for $47,500 (estimated to go for between $40,000 and $60,000).
6. Latin Bible from 1273.
This Latin bible was printed in Italy, probably in the city of Bologna, in 1273. It includes prologues and interpretations of Hebrew names. It sold for $200,000 — right smack in the middle of the estimates ($150,000 and $250,000).
Next Page: Yes, one of these Bibles went for over $1 million!
7. The Four Gospels in Greek.
This version of the four Gospels originated in Constantinople (today Istanbul) in the 1000s. It includes commentary, and sold for $275,000 (estimated between $50,000 and $80,000).
8. The King James Bible.
Dr. Ryrie’s copy of the first edition King James Bible (1611) is one of only nine remaining in the world. Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, recalled that Dr. Ryrie purchased this bible at an auction where he outbid the University of Texas Library! While Sotheby’s estimated the book would sell for between $400,000 and $600,000, it actually went for $396,500 — a steal!
9. John Wycliffe New Testament.
Ownership of this bible, from the early 1400s, would have gotten you accused of heresy and resulted in imprisonment. It is one of the first English versions of the bible, produced by disciples of John Wycliffe, an early reformer. This Middle English text was estimated to rake in between $500,000 and $800,000, but actually cost $1,692,500. It was the most expensive item on the lot by far.