EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE (EBTH), a premier estate sale marketplace, placed a fine and rare partially-restored copy of the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon up for auction today. The auction will go until February 27, 2018, at 8:30 p.m. EST.
At the time of this report, the highest bid is at $1,051.
This copy of the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York, by E. B. Grandin. This edition notes that the work is “by Joseph Smith, Junior, / Author and Proprietor.” on the title page and is the only edition of the Book of Mormon to do so. All subsequent editions list Smith as the translator. Holding the earliest unique writings of the Latter Day Saints movement, practitioners regard it as scripture as well as a historical record of God and his interactions with the ancient people in the Americas. Joseph Smith said of the book, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.”
The route to publication was not an easy one. Egbert B. Grandin of Palmyra was first approached by Smith, but he declined as it was a large work (over 500 pages) and was convinced that the growing criticism of Smith might lead to a boycott of the book. Smith then approached two Rochester, New York publishers, Thurlow Weed, who twice refused, and Elihu F. Marshall who agreed. The original publisher, Grandin, upon being re-approached by Smith and Martin Harris, changed his mind and agreed to publish the book. Harris mortgaged his farm to provide the $3,000 needed for the printing of 5,000 copies, a large print run for the time and place. It was first sold for $1.25 to $1.75 in the bookstore of the publisher E. B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York on March 26, 1830. The building still stands and is the site of the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site. It was two weeks later on April 6, 1830, that Smith organized the Church of Christ, which would later be known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
According to EBTH, this copy of the Book of Mormon has the follow details.
The book is divided into smaller books titled after the main narrator or leader and arranged mostly in chronological order, with the “Words of Mormon” and the “Book of Ether” being exceptions. Also included are are written accounts by eleven people who also stated they saw the golden plates: “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses” (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris) as well as “And Also the Testimony of the Eight Witnesses” (Chirstian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith). These are included on the recto and verso of a single leaf included after the main text.
There were several printing variations among the first edition. This copy has page iv printed correctly, the “97” on page 97 printed poorly, “exceeding great” is spelled correctly on p. 207, page 212 is misprinted as p. 122, p. 487 is printed correctly, page 575 has “elder or priest”. (Flake, 595) The paper has foxing throughout, which is typical of this publication, and the edges are flecked blue. The book retains its original spine, spine label, and back leather board. The hinges have been reinforced on both the exterior and interior and the front board has been replaced. The first front flyleaf has a bookseller’s pencil notation reading “Joseph Smith / Price 1 dollar”. The second flyleaf has “Mrs. G. C. Pugh” written in pencil. Housed in a custom cloth-covered clamshell case.