This 345 year old Bible has travelled far and wide to find its way into a discarded pile of books at Lifeline, Wahroonga.
The intricately illustrated King James Bible, printed in 1669, was discovered by Lifeline’s Carole Stannard and volunteers while they were rummaging through donations for a used book fair.
“We don’t know who dropped off the Bible but it was originally from London, printed by John Bill and Christopher Barker, who were printers to the king’s most excellent majesty from 1669,” she said.
“We sold a similar Bible for $1400 at a silent auction that we hold, and this year’s auction will have 33 items including a 19th century encyclopaedia,” she said.
Antiquarian bookseller and valuer Peter Tinslay, who appraised the book, said there were no doubts about it being genuine.
“It’s not in bad condition, a little foxing. It’s been rebound and trimmed quite close to the upper margin,” he said.
The Bible which has more than 150 detailed illustrations will now go under the hammer this weekend.
“It lacks the title page which affects the price considerably,” Mr Tinslay said.
“In terms of value I’d say it is worth around $600 to $800 with the missing title page, but if the title page were still intact then I’d say its value would be around $1000 to $1200,” he said.
Mr Tinslay said the book may not appeal to all serious collectors but it still had historical value.
“It wouldn’t be a good investment to buy a book without a title page, but someone might like it because of its age,” he said.
“A lot of the collections you buy here have come from the UK, someone has usually brought them out and then passed them through the family and eventually when someone dies and no one wants it, then it gets out into the market,” he said.
Highly collectible Bibles include misprinted versions, which can go for astronomical prices.
Mr Tinslay said a “wicked” reprint of the King James Bible published in 1631 by Barker and Lucas from the royal printers is one of the rarest and most well documented versions.
“The wicked Bible is quite rare because it had something like ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’ and while I’ve been in the book business for 40 years, I’ve only ever seen one and that was about 30 years ago,” he said
He said the erroneous version ended up causing mayhem.
“There was an obvious mistake and it had a limited run because they realised very quickly, which is why the wicked is the most famous out of the old Bibles and why it also caused a lot of sensation at the time,” he said.