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Religious Books

Humanity’s search for the divine is as old as man. Early hunter-gatherer tribes sought meaningful ways to interact with the environment, thereby ensuring their survival by appeasing whatever spirits bestowed favorable fortunes upon them. The written record of humankind’s preoccupation with these controlling forces is found in religious texts, which are valuable both for their contents and their worth on the market.

Throughout time, sacred texts have been hidden, stolen, smuggled, and destroyed. These are factors which add to their rarity and value. The earliest-known religious texts are the inscriptions written on the walls of the Egyptian pyramids known as the Pyramid Texts, which date to around 3,000 B.C. Fragments of the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the Sumerian tablets discovered at the archaeological site of Ugarit are important cultural discoveries revealing the religious beliefs of ancient societies. The Dead Sea scrolls, a collection of documents written on papyrus and animal skins containing ancient biblical texts, were discovered in caves in the ‘40s and ‘50s.

Religious books bring lots of excitement at auction based upon their rarity, age, and scholarly or historical applications. The price of rare religious books is steadily climbing, often bringing millions at auction houses.


Quick Facts

  • A rare copy of Rhode Island settlement founder Roger William’s "The Bloody Tenet of Persecution" sold for $175,000 at a 2015 Sotheby's auction. The book was so offensive to Christian views upon publication in 1644 that British Parliament ordered all copies burned
  • The "Gospels of Queen Theutberga of Lorraine," a 9th-century gospel believed to be missing for 20 years, was sold by Christie’s to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $2,850,844 in 2014
  • "Hebrew Bible: Pentateuch with Haftarot and the Five Scrolls, England: 15 Tammuz 4949=2 July 1189" sold for $3,610,000 at a 2015 Sotheby’s auction. This rare Hebrew book dates to before the expulsion of the Jewish people from the British Isles

Recommended Items at Auction

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Valsecchi's Foundations of Religion, 1767
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Valsecchi's Foundations of Religion, 1767
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $20- $200
$607 Bids
Mucha - Ornate Prayer Page
Oct 08, 10:00 AM CDT
Mucha - Ornate Prayer Page
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$4755 Bids
Incunable Bible, Nicolai de Lyra, 1498
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Incunable Bible, Nicolai de Lyra, 1498
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $500- $5,000
$6504 Bids
Mucha - Decorative Prayer Page
Oct 08, 10:00 AM CDT
Mucha - Decorative Prayer Page
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $500- $1,500
$3754 Bids
Bible with double locks and silver carrying chain.
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Bible with double locks and silver carrying chain.
by Veilinghuis de Ruiter
Est: €100- €250
€1303 Bids
Erasmus' New Testament, 1522
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Erasmus' New Testament, 1522
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $700- $7,000
$7502 Bids
Bible, English, King James Version. The Holy Bible Conteyning the Old Testament and the New.
Oct 13, 12:00 PM EDT
Bible, English, King James Version. The Holy Bible Conteyning the Old Testament and the New.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$1,2002 Bids
Early 17thc Vellum Latin Book, Jesuit Priest Martin Becanus
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Early 17thc Vellum Latin Book, Jesuit Priest Martin Becanus
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $400- $800
$2001 Bid
1539. LIBRO: (RELIGIÓN). VINCENTII, SANCTI: SERMONUM SANCTI... PARS TERTIA
Oct 20, 11:00 AM CEST
1539. LIBRO: (RELIGIÓN). VINCENTII, SANCTI: SERMONUM SANCTI... PARS TERTIA
by Soler y Llach
Est: €0- €0
€1201 Bid
[FORE–EDGE PAINTING]. –– [EDWARDS OF HALIFAX]. The Book of ...
Oct 20, 10:00 AM CDT
[FORE–EDGE PAINTING]. –– [EDWARDS OF HALIFAX]. The Book of ...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
[Bindings] Henry's Exposition on the Bible
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
[Bindings] Henry's Exposition on the Bible
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $40- $400
$401 Bid
Bible [English]. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament and the New, 1717/16
Oct 12, 10:00 AM BST
Bible [English]. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament and the New, 1717/16
by Dominic Winter Auctions
Est: £700- £1,000
£7001 Bid
[Period Bindings] Lot of 2 18th c. Works
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
[Period Bindings] Lot of 2 18th c. Works
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $50- $500
$501 Bid
Judaica Siddur Avodat Israel Prayer Book
Oct 21, 6:00 PM EDT
Judaica Siddur Avodat Israel Prayer Book
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $20- $40
$101 Bid
Saur, 1743, First American German Bible
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
Saur, 1743, First American German Bible
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $600- $6,000
$6001 Bid
John Wesley, American Bible, + Others
Oct 22, 2:00 PM EDT
John Wesley, American Bible, + Others
by Addison & Sarova Auctioneers
Est: $50- $500
$501 Bid
Johannes Cassianus: Opera. Monasticarum institutionum libri IIII
Oct 11, 10:00 AM CEST
Johannes Cassianus: Opera. Monasticarum institutionum libri IIII
by Galerie Bassenge
Est: €260- €400
€2601 Bid
BIBLIA GRAECA -- VETUS TESTAMENTUM ex versione Septuaginta interpretum. Accur. denuo rec. Summa
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
BIBLIA GRAECA -- VETUS TESTAMENTUM ex versione Septuaginta interpretum. Accur. denuo rec. Summa
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €120- €150
€1201 Bid
[BIBLE, in English – KING JAMES VERSION]. The Holy Bible: C...
Oct 20, 10:00 AM CDT
[BIBLE, in English – KING JAMES VERSION]. The Holy Bible: C...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $600- $800
$3001 Bid
1581. LIBRO: (HUMANIDADES). AVILA: LIBRO ESPIRITUAL, QUE TRATA DE LOS MALOS
Oct 20, 11:00 AM CEST
1581. LIBRO: (HUMANIDADES). AVILA: LIBRO ESPIRITUAL, QUE TRATA DE LOS MALOS
by Soler y Llach
Est: €0- €0
€2201 Bid
Fitzwilliam Book of Hours.
Oct 13, 10:00 AM CEST
Fitzwilliam Book of Hours.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €200- €300
€2001 Bid
Biblia latina.
Oct 13, 10:00 AM CEST
Biblia latina.
by Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen
Est: €180- €270
€1801 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Religious Books


Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Kiefer Buch- und Kunstauktionen

Galerie Bassenge

Galerie Bassenge

Soler y Llach

Soler y Llach

Addison & Sarova Auctioneers

Addison & Sarova Auctioneers