Is Your Antique Bible a Collectors Item?

If you’re like many of us, you might have memories of visiting Grandma’s house and sitting next to her while she opened the big old family Bible to show you the keepsakes inside of it. The names of ancestors long deceased written in the family tree, and perhaps a few old photographs as well, from an era long past. Now that Grandma is also gone and the family Bible has been passed down to you, you might wonder if this ancient looking book is truly an antique, and whether or not it has any monetary value. Here are a few facts that can help you determine if your antique Bible is a valuable collector’s item, or simply a family heirloom.

The monetary value of an old Bible depends on any unique qualities it may have, and its scarcity. Many religious books such as Bibles, hymnals, books of religious instruction, and collections of sermons were intended to reach a large audience with massive circulation. Therefore they are quite common, and most have no real monetary value. Since so many were printed it was done as cheaply as possible, so there is seldom anything particularly special about the books that would make them attractive to collectors.

But naturally, there are a few exceptions. For example, early Shaker tracts are actually quite rare, and very much in demand. And the first Roman Catholic Bibles that were printed in the U. S. are also rare, and are considered very important. This kind of scarcity, coupled with a high demand, results in higher prices on the collector’s market.

But most old Bibles that you will find in Grandma’s home aren’t rare at all, because you’re likely to find hundreds more like it in the homes of other Grandmas around the Christian world. As with any antique, an item’s value is mainly determined by supply and demand. And in almost all cases, the supply of old Bibles is much greater than the demand for them.

It’s highly unlikely that your Grandma would have a Bible from the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries, but as you’d expect, Bibles from this era are very valuable indeed. The first authorized English translation of the Bible was in 1611, and is known as the King James Bible. These Bibles are now extremely scarce, and the few remaining are mainly found in museum collections. Others from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are also very valuable, but for different reasons. There are some Bibles that are considered oddities because of peculiar wording or because they contain misprints, such as the ‘Vinegar’ Bible, the ‘Breeches’ Bible, and the ‘Wicked’ Bible.

Another thing that detracts from the monetary value of a family Bible is the handwritten genealogical information that they usually contain. Unless you’re from a very famous family, or there is an individual in your family who is famous, this handwritten information reduces a Bible’s value to a collector.

But there are far more important kinds of value than the merely monetary. Your antique Bible may not be valuable to a collector, but there are many who would consider that the value of your family Bible, lovingly passed down to you, is priceless.

KJ Ross is an Internet shopping enthusiast and avid reader. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out more of his work, available at many popular article directories.