Three of the Rarest Books in the World

There are some rare books in the world that are so valuable, they’re almost impossible to find. Here are three of the most rare and sought-after books in existence:


1. The Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible is the world’s first book printed with movable type, and it’s one of the most valuable books in the world. Only 48 copies are known to still exist, and they’re all worth millions of dollars.


The Gutenberg Bible is a major milestone in the history of book printing, as it was Europe’s first major work to be mass-produced using movable metal type. Revered for its artistic and aesthetic qualities, as well as its cultural significance, this edition of the Latin Vulgate was printed by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany in the 1450s. To date, forty-nine copies (or sections of copies) have been located with some believed to be among the world’s most valuable books. The last sale of a complete version dates back to 1978 and Pope Pius II documented that either 158 or 180 copies were printed prior to March 1455. Additionally, there’s another 36-line Bible which is sometimes referred to as a Gutenberg Bible but is speculated to have been produced by another printer.

2. The Magna Carta

The Magna Carta is an ancient English document that established the rule of law and liberties for all people. Only 17 original copies still exist, and they’re all worth millions of dollars.



Three of the original provisions in Magna Carta remain in effect today. These clauses reinforce the freedom and rights of the English church, confirm liberties and customs in London and other towns, and ensure trial by jury based on a standard of “lawful judgement of his equals or by law of the land”.

Notably, Magna Carta established limits on royal authority and asserted that even the monarch must adhere to law.
In terms of its longevity, many copies were circulated across England upon its issuance. As for how many modern-day copies exist, four have been preserved: one located in Lincolnshire, another in Salisbury, with two housed at the British Library.

3. The Bay Psalm Book

This is another extremely rare book, and is often referred to as the “First Bible of America.” It was created in an edition of 1,700 copies and only 11 are currently known to survive today, with 5 being complete.



The Bay Psalm Book, printed in 1640, is one of the most essential pieces of literature from early colonial America. Although the typography of this book is often imprecise and lack aesthetic appeal, its significance to history cannot be understated. It marks the first use of printing in English colonies, which has deeper implications for the Puritan-led reading and educational values that would play an integral role in American independence over a century later. In a way, it captured the sentiment behind freely-available information and freedom of expression–both significant forebears to what would eventually become principles underpinning United States democracy.

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