facebook-pixel

Want rare pieces of Latter-day Saint history? They’re for sale.

Collection, valued at $3.2 million, includes first editions of the Book of Mormon, documents signed by Joseph Smith and letters penned by Brigham Young.

(Business Wire) Image of a first edition Book of Mormon found at Hauns Mill. A collection of historical documents, including three first editions of the foundational scripture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is for sale.

If you love Latter-day Saint history and have a spare million or two (or three) lying around, you might be interested in snatching up the G. Ralph Bailey collection.

It contains rare goodies like three first editions of the Book of Mormon, drawings, property documents signed by church founder Joseph Smith and dozens of letters written by his successor Brigham Young, the latter describing how the faith tried to stop the U.S. Army from entering the Utah Territory.

And they’re for sale, according to a Business Wire news release, and valued at a cool $3.2 million.

(Tribune file photo) Brigham Young, second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A collection of historical documents, including some letters written by Young, is for sale.

“This is one of the most valuable and expansive LDS collections in private hands today,” Jerry Erkelens, personal property appraiser at Intermountain Auction and Appraisal, said in the release. “In my 40 years of appraising LDS works, I have never come across anything quite like it. With more than 4,000 items, this collection provides a unique lens into a transformational time for the religion, which helps piece together significant moments within U.S. history.”

There’s a caveat: It’s all or nothing for any prospective buyer, the release noted, “to maintain the integrity of the collection.”

“Our father was a treasure hunter with an inquisitive mind who would spend time talking to all sorts of interesting characters in each town, flea market, or garage sale he visited,” Pam Collard, the late Ralph Bailey’s daughter, said in the release. “He loved history and finding interesting clues and documents that shared insight into areas he was passionate about including the U.S. and its religious history.”

(Courtesy image) This bank document, signed by Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is one of the documents in a collection now up for sale.

[Get more content like this in The Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land newsletter, a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To receive the free newsletter in your inbox, subscribe here. You also can support us with a donation at Patreon.com/mormonland, where you can access gifts and transcripts of our “Mormon Land” podcasts.]


Return to Story