Apr 14, 2015 - Sale 2380

Sale 2380 - Lot 173

Price Realized: $ 55,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000
FIRST EDITION (MORMONS.) The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. 8vo, later 1/2 morocco, moderate wear at extremities; minor foxing, a few pencil notes; early inscriptions and clippings on front flyleaves, bookplates on front pastedown, faint embossed stamp on title page. (MRS) Palmyra, NY: E.B. Grandin, 1830

Additional Details

first edition of the scripture of the mormon church, released just days before the official establishment of the church on 6 April 1830. This was the only edition listing Joseph Smith as the "author and proprietor" rather than as the translator, and the only edition with his 2-page preface. This copy has the 2 pages of witness testimony at the end, but not the index pages which were inserted in later copies.
The first edition was printed with numerous variants; Crawley concludes that "very few copies of the book exist which are entirely identical." This copy includes the uncorrected sheets for 5 of the 41 variants noted in Jenson: page 144 reads "obout"; page 212 is misprinted as "122"; page 521 reads "rum-derers" for "murderers"; page 575 reads "elder priest" for "elder or priest"; and page 576 reads "un-to the baptism" for "unto baptism." See Janet Jenson, "Variations between Copies of the First Edition of the Book of Mormon," BYU Studies 13 (Winter 73), 214-222. Crawley 1; Flake 595; Grolier Hundred 37; Howes S623; Sabin 83038; Streeter sale IV:2262.
According to a note on the flyleaf, this book was sold by Crandall Dunn to Chester Smith of Clarendon, Calhoun County, MI. Crandall Dunn was an early member of the LDS, having been baptized in 1840. He went on a mission to Michigan in 1843 and 1844, which is likely when he passed this book on to Smith. The message apparently took hold. According to the History of Calhoun County, Michigan (page 139), Smith was the founding deacon of his town's Freewill Baptist Church in 1835, but "afterwards went away with the Mormons."
Provenance: originally owned by J.A. Weeks of the firm Williams, Cummings & Weeks; sold by him to Daniel C. Dean in 1839; sold by Crandall Dunn to Chester Smith circa 1843; gift to Frederick Stanton Perkins of Burlington, WI, and thence apparently his gift circa 1892 to Charles Gilbert Sower of Philadelphia (1821-1902) (bookplate); bequeathed in 1904 with the rest of Sower's library to the Library Company of Philadelphia (1932 bookplate and release stamp); thence through the book trade to the consignor. With an 1892 letter relating to the provenance, removed from the volume and worn with archival tape repairs.