Is My Family Bible Valuable?

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments
While all family bibles have sentimental value, few have much monetary value.

Is my family Bible worth anything?

Without question, family Bibles are precious heirlooms. They often contain handwritten records of notable events in a family’s timeline: births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths, as well as historical and newsworthy events. These tomes hold great sentimental value and serve as incredible resources for genealogical information, but they rarely fetch more than a couple hundred dollars on the antiquarian book market.

How can something so dear be worth so little?

Consider the rules of supply and demand. The Bible is the most printed book in history, and the tradition of maintaining a family Bible has been around for centuries. Because of this, many old Bibles have survived the trials of time and regular use. Only very specific publications will prove to have any serious monetary value.

If you feel that your family Bible may be one of those extra-special tomes, you can have it professionally appraised to help you determine its worth. The libraries of large universities often offer basic appraisal services. They can assist you in identifying the printing date and evaluating the condition of your Bible.

Another option is to have your Bible professionally appraised. This method is much more thorough, but it can be an expensive process. Your family bible is likely worth the cost of an appraisal if it is in fine condition and meets any of the following qualities:

  • it belonged to the family of a historically significant person,
  • it includes signatures of famous individuals,
  • it is an American Bible printed before 1850,
  • it is a European Bible printed before 1700 (especially if it is printed in English)
  • it is a large or ornate Bible (often collected for display qualities)
  • it is illustrated by popular illustrators (i.e. Gustave Dore)
  • it contains printing errors (i.e. the “Wicked” Bible, “Vinegar” Bible, “Breeches” Bible)
  • it is an early Shaker tract
  • it is one of the first Roman Catholic Bibles printed in the U.S.


This entry was written by and posted on July 29, 2010 at 3:33 pm, filed under Book Value, FAQs About Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink

16 Responses to “Is My Family Bible Valuable?”

  1. Rita Gibson

    Yes, many of the illustrations are those of Dore”s best. That is what is written in the General index. ‘The Treasury of Illustrations’. Steel and other full page engravings.
    There are Birth’s and Death’s listed
    1. Leon Evan Lewis, born, March 13, 1872 along with 3 siblings and one who passed away at a year old.
    Lura May Lewis, born May 25, 1882 and died August 3, 1884.
    Also included is a card with the 10 Commandments on one side and a beautiful illustration on the other with scripture.

    Reply
  2. Rita Gibson

    I also want to add that Stowe is the other publisher of this bible who could very well be Harriet Beecher Stowe’s husband, Calvin Stowe, who was a member of the semenary and hated and fought against slavery. Please check that out. Thank you, Rita

    Reply
  3. Ross

    The printing press, invented in the 1400’s allowed “mass production” of the bible and before that they were mostly hand written so it is very unlikely the there will be many copies that precede this date around. If so being rare they will be valuable. (And wonderful)

    Reply
  4. zandra

    i have a 1506 bible and a 1914 bible anyone interested

    Reply
  5. Barry Rosenblatt

    1802 translated from old Hebrew

    Reply
  6. Julie

    I have a 1816 German bible- anyone interested?

    Reply
  7. Cheryl

    When my dad past away my step mum will not give us our family bible that was past down by my dads family. We have ask her for it back but she will not give it us. Is there anything me and my sister can do .

    Reply
    • Greg

      If it’s family it will have you family name in it call the cops and charge her ass

      Reply
  8. victoria

    I have a big Catholic. Bible printed1850

    Reply
  9. Cam

    I have one i think early 1600s to 1700s. It has dates from as it was past down but im not sure how old it really is and its very big

    Reply
  10. Don

    I have a 1880 illustrated family bible.Old & new testament. Printed by A.J Holman & Co. Blue heavy cover In good condition. Want to sell. Any interest?.

    Reply
  11. Danielle

    what is the value of the holy bible authorised st james version frontispiece the holy family by john frederick overbeck

    Reply
  12. ruby taylor

    I have a large Bible from 1872 with illustrations and dictionary and concordance Albert Leighton Rawson American Publishing Philadelphia and would like to know if it is worth anything.

    Reply
  13. Cheryl I

    I have a 1885 first edition King James Bible.
    Can anyone give me a possible value?

    Reply
  14. Janet

    Where in the bible can I find when it was printed? I just received two antique bibles from my 81 year old mother-in-law, she know they belonged to her dad. May have belonged to her grand parents.

    Reply
  15. jamie

    need an appraisal of old Bible in
    Orange Co Calif,thx

    Reply

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