List of 5 World’s most expensive books


I have something a little bit different for you today. A mix of culture money and some world records you guessed it. I am talking about the world’s most expensive books that have ever existed. For a book to be worth several millions of dollars. It needs to be written by a famous author. Who has a controversial or highly important subject and is a few hundred years old.

Books get better and more expensive with age. I can’t pinpoint just one book that is the most important or relevant because there are so many. However, there are a few manuscripts that shaped our modern world. They are now worth quite a lot of money and can be found in the biggest and most important libraries.

Precious Books:

some of the World's most expensive books

The list that I do have today is indeed the most precious book history is kept safe and hopefully. Since some books are very old their state is quite fragile and the ink possibly fades out in some areas. That’s why it’s so important to keep them in extremely good and safe conditions. So future generations will have a piece of history to look upon.

Technology can help us preserve the book for years and years as a digital copy. But that takes away the whole feeling of a book. The texture and the smell holding a book in your hand. Flipping through the pages and making notes will always be the ultimate sensorial experience. Our children will probably not experience. IPads and Kindles are great tools for minimalist lovers’ digital nomads and our environment. But we have to admit that a physical book can be utterly luxurious and special.

Let’s see which are the most expensive books in the world? Who are the proud authors and why they cost so much money?

1. Book of Mormon Joseph Smith 35 million $:

Mormon world's most expensive books

The first book on the list that I brought you the biggest and most expensive book that was ever sold. This book is highly controversial but even more than the book the religion it depicts and the people that follow it are believed to be a part of a secret world-leading organization. Although Mormons are viewed as the Illuminati of the modern world they actually believe in Jesus Christ and are much attached when it comes to this book.

It was first published in 1830 and has been traveling quite a lot. Since then last year in 2017 the remaining manuscript was bought by the Church of Latter-day Saints for thirty-five million dollars. Making this book the most expensive they paid that much for the manuscript. Not because it’s old or famous but because it’s written by their founder Joseph Smith.

He wrote the book after a revelation he had when he was 17 years old and with divine guidance.

2. Leonardo da Vinci Codex Leicester 30.8 million $

Leonardo da vinci world's most expensive books

It was first named codex hammer but later changed with its first owner’s name Thomas Koch Earl of leister who purchased it in 1719. Da Vinci was a genius and the manuscript is also one of his most desired papers. The codex provides a unique look into the brilliant mind of renowned Renaissance artist mastermind scientist and inventor. As well as an exceptional illustration of the link between art and science and the creativity of the scientific process as Leonardo thought of it. Handwritten with notes and observations the manuscript contains info regarding astronomy physics and chemistry all in Italian.

The 18 pages folded in half and written on both sides were, in fact, one at an auction in New York City by another great mind in businessman Bill Gates. He bought it for thirty point eight million dollars. He was not the richest man just from Microsoft while he had the Codex. Bill scanned the pages and turned them into a screensaver and wallpapers for the Windows 95 Edition.

3. ST. Cuthbert Gospel 14.3 million $:

If the Gutenberg Bible was once one of the most important books ever printed there is one more religious piece on this list. The Holy Bible was written by the 12th disciples of Jesus and upon that some of them wrote other Gospels that were later discovered. Even Judas has written a gospel but the church does not recognize it nor the one written of Mary Magdalene. Dates back to the eighth century and is a small pocket size containing some parts of a notorious Gospel of John one of the most beloved disciples of Jesus.

What makes this tiny book so expensive is the fact that it’s the most well-capped book of its kind from that age and it’s written in Latin. It has survived a lot of travels and Viking invasions and 1,500 years later it was bought by the British Library for fourteen point three million dollars and it will be on public display as of 2018.

4. Rothschild prayer book 13.4 million$:

Moving on with a great book that belonged to an even greater family the Roth shield prayer book. It dates back from the late 15th century and it’s full of amazing illuminated details on the sides of the pages. The opening pages show a beautiful Requiem Mass, a mass used for the dead. While the rest of the books 67 pages contain different illustrations made by the most renowned Renaissance Flemish artists.

Rothchild world's most expensive books

The book is a masterpiece with splendid paintings and rich details which some say has great value for any art and history lover. Some of the famous illustrations depict Mary Magdalene of the famous prostitute that some say carried Jesus Christ’s children. The book was stolen from Lewis Nathanael von Rath shield in 1938 and purchased later by an Australian businessman for thirteen point four million dollars. Which makes this manuscript the most expensive.

John James Audubon the birds of America 11.5 million$:

This time some subjects like biology or plants need good and realistic drawings. Where all the details can be seen and explained and since portable cameras were invented pretty late. Illustrations were the most accurate way of understanding and learning the birds of America by painter and naturalist John James Audubon. This is a collection of 435 hand-colored life-sized prints and includes a series of now-extinct species of birds from the US dating from 1827.

There are only 119 complete copies known to the world and some of them were sold for millions of dollars. So far three of them were sold for 7.9 million dollars one for eight point eight million dollars and the last one for eleven point five million dollars. The drawings are so amazing and detailed they were even used for fabric painting in the UK.


People who love history and books are also known for the value and importance of books. These are some of the world’s most expensive books list. Later on, I will share another list of the rest of the expensive book. If is there any other books in your knowledge please share it in the comment box.


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