For Sale: North America's Oldest Book

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Monday, December 3, 2012 - 4:33pm

Boston's Old South Church plans to sell extremely rare copy of the Bay Psalm book, the first book printed in North America.

The Old South Church in Boston made the difficult decision to sell the first book published in North America that is still in existence.

The hymnal is so old it actually pre-dates the United States by more than a century.

Members of the old South Church in Boston said it was a difficult decision, but the right decision to sell a piece of their history so they can continue their work at their church.

The Bay Psalm book was the first book published in North America in 1640. It is worth an estimated $20 million.

The church will also sell pieces of silver that date back to the same time.

"It was a hymn book. It was an everyday book. The Congregationalists would come in and sing their praises to God. It's the psalms of David translated into English in rhyming verse," said Sr. Minister Nancy Taylor of Old South Church.

"It hasn't been used since the 1700's so it's a museum piece rather than a piece of hymnity today. And the silver we haven't used since 1939," said Taylor.

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