Description

    Scarce First Edition of "The Book of Mormon"

    Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi...By Joseph Smith, Junior, Author and Proprietor. Palmyra: Printed by E.B. Grandin, for the Author, 1830.
    First edition of "The Book of Mormon." Octavo (7.25 x 4.5 inches). iv, 5-588, [2] pages. Complete with the leaf of testimonies of witnesses of the original gold plates ("Testimonies of Three Witnesses" on the recto and "And Also The Testimony of Eight Witnesses" on the verso), but without the final blank leaf. This copy also without the four-page index, "References to the Book of Mormon," issued at a later date and usually not present.

    Contemporary calf. Smooth spine ruled in blind with black morocco gilt lettering label. Binding with early expert and almost invisible restoration to corners and spine. Light to moderate foxing, as usual, and some slight dampstaining, heaviest at the beginning and end. First and last few leaves slightly browned and a little edgeworn. Title with a small piece torn from the outer blank margin, lower corner of pages 345/346 torn away, with loss of a few letters in three lines on the recto and two lines on the verso, pages 359/360 torn and repaired on the verso with tape, pages 511/512 with short tear into the text, lower corner of pages 585/586 torn away, affecting a few words in the last two lines on the recto, and the last four lines on the verso, small paper repair to the final leaf of testimonies, affecting a few words in five lines on the recto and a few words in two lines on the verso, a few additional minor marginal tears. Some scattered early ink and pencil underlining (erased on pages 554, 555, 557, 558, 559, and 560), a few ink markings. Previous owner's red ink stamp on the front pastedown and on p. 113. Bookseller's ticket on front pastedown. A good, solid copy of a book which has become extremely difficult to find in nice condition. Housed in a quarter burgundy calf over marbled board slipcase. Spine ruled in gilt with black leather label ruled and lettered in gilt. Old bookseller's description mounted inside front cover of case.

    "This is the first publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the church having been organized with six charter members, April 6, 1830, just after the book had been finished at the press. According to Smith, a revelation was given to him by an angel in September, 1823, when he was informed of the purpose of the visitation, and where the inscribed records were deposited, in the hill of 'Cumorah,' now called Mormon Hill, near the village of Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y., about six miles south of Palmyra, and where they had remained hidden since about the year 420 A. D. After many other visitations, these records ['engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold'] were delivered into his hands, in September, 1827; and when the translation was completed in 1829, they were returned to the angel...The translation was dictated mostly to Oliver Cowdery, who acted as scribe. On its completion the copy right was secured and a contract made in 1829, with Egbert B. Grandin, publisher of the 'Wayne Sentinel', at Palmyra, to print and bind five thousand copies for three thousand dollars...To guard against possible loss, a transcript of the original manuscript was made, and portions of this were carried daily to the printer. When the printing was finished, the two manuscripts were kept, the original by Joseph Smith, the other by Oliver Cowdery. Smith deposited his manuscript in the corner stone of the Nauvoo House in 1841, and some years later when Major L. C. Bidamon removed the stone which had been broken it was found that moisture had ruined the manuscript. Oliver Cowdery preserved his copy, and...[it] is now in the possession of the officers of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Independence, Missouri. It contains 464 pages. Some pages show the marks of the printer, and some are cut in takes for the typesetter" (Sabin).

    "The 1830 Book of Mormon is originally bound in brown calf, plain except for seven double bands in gilt on the backstrip with a black leather label stamped in gilt Book of Mormon. End sheets are of the same paper as the text. The copyright notice appears on the verso of the title page. A preface (pp. [iii]-iv) explains the loss of the initial 116 pages of manuscript and the revelation to Joseph Smith not to retranslate that part but to begin with the plates of Nephi. Only the 1830 edition has this preface. Pages [5]-588 contain the main text, and the testimonies of the three and of the eight witnesses occur on both sides of the leaf following p. 588. A few copies have a four-page index, in double columns, titled References to the Book of Mormon, but this was printed later, probably in Kirtland about 1835, and is not intrinsic to the book" (Crawley).

    "This is the First Edition of the Mormon Bible, in which polygamy and freemasonry were prohibited. In subsequent editions the former doctrine was changed so as to permit the Saints to have a plurality of wives" (Church). The first edition is the only early edition to contain Smith's preface (pages [iii]-iv), and the only one to identify Smith as the author. All subsequent editions have designated him as the translator.

    Church 1342. Crawley 1. Crawley & Flake, A Mormon Fifty, 1. Flake 595. Grolier, 100 American, 37. Howes S623. Sabin 83038. Streeter Sale 2262.




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    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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