Interesting Updates Week of April 29, 2013

Sotheby’s Auction of Most Valuable Book

Library of Congress Copy of the Bay Psalm Book

Most agree that the first book printed in North America was the Bay Psalm Book. Printed in 1636, they translated the Psalms into English. They were hoping for a translation that reflected the original Hebrew text more closely than the King James Version. They also wanted the Psalms to be sung easily at prayer meetings. Psalm 23 begins: “The Lord to mee a shepheard is, want therefore shall not I, Hee in the folds of tender-grass, doth cause mee downe to lie.”

There are very few copies left, and almost all are held by institutions, making the book almost impossible to collect. However, one is going up for auction for the first time since 1947. Sotheby’s will offer a very nice example for sale on Nov. 26. No one knows exactly what it will bring, but the current record price for a printed book at auction is $11,542,683 for John James Audubon’s Birds of America in 2010. I think this one could easily best that record.

*Author’s note: My birthday is three days before the auction, but I will accept belated birthday gifts.
Read more here.

First Punic War Ship Rams Discovered

Detail of one of the ship rams.

Detail of one of the ship rams.

As part of a 100 square mile archaeological study of the Mediterranean Sea floor has turned up the exceedingly rare discovery of bronze warship rams. Only four known examples have been found previous, and these are the first to be found in their context. Many other items have been found as well, dating from 241 BC. Details and pictures available at: http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_releases_for_journalists/130405.html

Proto-Aeolic Capital Found From First Temple Period

Well, it was actually found again. Archaeologist Binyamin Tropper and his team have found a very early capital in Jerusalem. Evidently though, the IAA has known about it for awhile, but has kept it quiet. Conspiracy theorists unite.

Read more here:  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/king-david-era-find-buried-by-authorities-for-political-reasons/2013/04/19/

 

Rare Opportunity – Purchase Coin Hubs and Dies

Coin hubs and dies are essential parts of the coin making process, and for people like me, a great tool to show others how coins are made. It is difficult to get any undamaged ones though, and for very good reason. If you had a set of dies for a coin, you could reproduce that coin until the dies wore out. For this reason, they are usually destroyed after use. Recently though several hundred went up for auction from a collection of Karl Goetz dies and hubs. Yours truly was lucky enough to purchase a hub, which I will now use for my classes, and there are still a few that can be had for the next few days through post-auction buys if you are interested. http://coins.ha.com/common/auction/catalog.php?SaleNo=3024&ic=rightcolumn-auctionlist

Coin hub I purchased.

Coin hub I purchased.