Most Expensive Books In The World 2024

Most expensive books in the world, A book is said to be a mirror that shows your personality. For some people, reading is more than just a pastime; for generations, books have been a source of education.

most expensive books in the world

It has been normal for people to spend thousands of dollars to own a copy of many books from ancient civilizations to the present. Additionally, this list will assist you in achieving your goal of reading both well-known books and less well-known ones given the sky-high prices for new releases.

Therefore the power of reading, knowledge, and language have been demonstrated by books. These books have historically been wise investments and are still worth their “weight in gold” today. They also demonstrate how much mankind and the worth of words have evolved over time.

It can seem unusual to take the cost of a book into account when deciding what to read next. This, however, is nothing new. Rare books have high value because of their historical significance.

Most Expensive Books In The World

These are the world’s most costly books, in no particular order.

1. Codex Leicester ($30.8 million)

A 72-page book containing Leonardo da Vinci’s essays and illustrations cost Bill Gates $30.8 million in 1994. The Codex Leicester may be the most expensive book ever published. The book contains Leonardo’s ideas and beliefs on a range of subjects, including astronomy and the properties of water. The Codex is a stunning illustration of Leonardo’s brilliance, and its worth comes from its rarity and insights into one of history’s greatest thinkers.

2. The Canterbury Tales ($11.1 million)

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales sold at auction for more than $11 million in 1998. 24 stories Chaucer authored in the late 14th century are in this book. A group recounts tales of pilgrims making their way to Thomas Becket’s shrine. The name comes from the pilgrimage these people are making to Canterbury. The stories provide readers an honest look into life in medieval England and are a heartwarming and engrossing blend of tragedy, comedy, and satire. The book is one of the most significant pieces of English literature, and both its historical importance and literary merit contribute to its value.

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3. St. Cuthbert’s Gospel ($14 million)

The oldest preserved European book cost $14 million. Purchased by the British Library in London in 2012 after a successful fundraising campaign. The gospel’s author and owner, St. Cuthbert, passed away in 687 and was buried next to it. The gospel was found after the transfer of Cuthbert’s remains from the graveyard to a shrine in 1104, and it was also briefly a talisman of protection during that time.

By the early 17th century, the book was privately owned. It was then donated to a Jesuit colony in Belgium, where it remained for 250 years. The book dates back almost 1,300 years. However, it is in excellent shape, has its binding, and a stunning red cover. Its adjusted price with inflation is $17.1 million.

4. The Birds of America ($11.5 million)

The book The Birds of America includes pictures and details about the various species of birds that can be found in the country. Each section of the book, which is organized according to location, offers details on the many species found there. The book also provides details on the habitat, nutrition, and behavior of each bird. The content is fascinating, and the visuals are precise and in-depth. The book is pricey, but given the gorgeous images and the abundance of information, it is well worth the money.

5. Bay Psalm Book ($14.2 million)

The Puritans utilized the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in British North America, as a hymnal. Because of its scarcity and significance in the history of printed texts, collectors and historians highly value the book. One of the most expensive printed books ever sold at auction, the volume fetched $14.2 million in 2013.

6. The Gospels of Henry the Lion ($11.7 million)

In 1983, The Gospels of Henry the Lion, a decorated Romanesque book from the late 12th century, fetched $11.7 million at auction. It used to hold the record for being the most costly book ever.
The book, which was written long before the printing press was developed, is considered as a masterpiece since it was painstakingly crafted and exquisitely embellished with more than fifty Romanesque depictions of the four gospels of Christ.

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King Henry the Lion had a significant impact on Germany’s founding, and the bidders, who included the German federal government and individual benefactors, pooled their funds to buy this book. The Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel only has it on exhibit for six weeks a year. It costs $33 million when adjusted for inflation.

7. The Book of Mormon ($35 million)

One of the most expensive books in the world is supposedly the printer’s draft of the sacred scripture of the Latter-Day Saint movement. According to legend, it contains writings from prophets who lived between 2200 BC and 421 AD. The manuscript was first released in 1830 under the title The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by Mormon’s Hand on Plates Taken from Nephi’s Plates by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter-Day Saint Church.

Over 150 million copies of the book have been printed, and it has been translated into 112 different languages. But a copy of the original text was eventually obtained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was made by Oliver Cowdery, although David Whitmer was the first owner.

8. The Rothschild Prayer Book ($13 million)

One of the most costly books in the entire world is the Rothschild Prayerbook. The important book of hours, also referred to as the Rothschild Hours, was produced in Flemish illuminated text between the years of 1500 and 1520.

It has 254 pages and folios, each measuring 228 by 160 millimeters. The Austrian National Library in Vienna originally housed it under the designation Codex Vindobonensis S.N. 2844.

The book was auctioned off twice: once in 1999 by the Austrian National Library in Vienna and secondly in 2014 at a Christie’s auction in New York. The final transaction was completed by Australian businessman Kerry Stokes for a whopping $13.9 million. At the Australian National Library, the book is currently on display.

9. The William Shakespeare’s First Folio ($6 million)

Shakespeare’s celebrated play collection, The First Folio, was first printed in 1623, seven years after his demise. It is regarded as one of the most important publications in literary history and the most authoritative and comprehensive edition of his works. Shakespeare’s friends and associates put together The First Folio, which contained 36 of his plays. 18 of these plays had never before been published. Shakespeare scholars should read it because it serves as the foundation for all contemporary editions of his plays. Beautifully bound with elaborate artwork, The First Folio is a work of art. It is a priceless item for any book enthusiast and will dazzle everybody who sees it.

10. The Tales of Beedle the Bard ($3 million)

J. K. Rowling’s children’s book, THE TALES OF BEEDLE THE BARD, was auctioned off in 2007. It was a rough handwritten script that was initially produced in a very small edition of seven copies with the intention of selling it for US$77 million, but it was ultimately sold for US$3 million.

Being one of the most costly books in history, it was published by Children’s High Level Group in collaboration with Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

Who became the first billionaire author?

The first billionaire author, British novelist Joanne Kathleen Rowling, who is also known by the pen name J.K. Rowling, is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series, which has sold more than 400 million copies worldwide.

What is the world’s oldest book?

The Diamond Sūtra, a sacred Buddhist literature, is regarded as the world’s oldest dated printed book that is still in existence. The book, which is composed of Chinese characters printed on a scroll of gray printed paper and wrapped around a wooden pole, was discovered in a walled-off cave in China along with other printed artifacts.

Who was the author of the first book?

Enheduanna, a woman who lived in ancient Mesopotamia during 2285-2250 BCE in the 23rd century BCE, is commonly regarded as the world’s first known novelist. Enheduanna is a rare individual; a “triple threat” in antiquity, she was a princess, a priestess, a writer, and a poet.


Consider buying one of the most expensive books in the world to place on your shelves if you love reading, even the agony that comes with having volumes like this. If you find yourself with a large sum of money but are unsure what to do with it, this is a good option.

You are welcome to browse your library at a later time. Who knows? You might hold something significant that will suddenly make you rich.

FAQs About most expensive books in the world

What book is the most expensive in the world?

The most costly book ever sold is “Codex Leicester,” also known as “Codex Hammer,” by Leonardo da Vinci.

Who is the owner of the most expensive book ever?

The Codex Leicester, which Bill Gates purchased in 1994 for $30.8 million (about $54.4 million in 2021), was the most expensive book ever sold.

What book has more than 500 million copies in circulation?

Don Quixote was first published in 1605, making it exceedingly dated and making sales estimates difficult to ascertain. It is estimated that approximately 500 million copies have been sold, which is more than any other non-political or non-religious book on the list, despite the fact that the precise quantity is unknown.

Which Bible book is the oldest?

Thessalonians, which was perhaps the first book ever written, was composed around the year 50 CE.

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