Collecting Bibles: What Makes A Bible Valuable?

24 July 2015
 Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Blog


Collecting bibles is a fascinating hobby that is great diversion for people with a spiritual bent who love books. If are not an expert in this field, however, determining whether a particular bible is worth adding to a collection is not always easy. This article offers some key tips for anyone looking to discover what types of bibles are collectible.  


The age of any item is often a factor in whether it has an collectible value. For example, an antique is generally defined as an item that is over 100 years old. Old bibles, however, are very common, as many families have bibles that have been handed down from generation to generation. As a rule, an American bible would probably have to be printed before 1850 and a European bible would need to be printed before 1700 for the book to worth an appraisal.  


Many different versions of the Bible exist in the English language, with the King James Version being the most famous. This version of the bible is very common, however, and as a result, even older printings of a King James Bible might not be in demand from collectors. Versions that were printed before the first King James Bible, which was introduced in 1611, are typically in higher demand. This includes versions such as the Geneva Bible, which was introduced in 1560 and enjoyed wide popularity for many years.  


Bibles that have printing errors are often collectible. For example, a bible that was printed in 1823 has the word "camels" in a passage of Genesis, rather than the correct word, which is "damsels." Another well-known example comes from a bible printed in Oxford, England in the late 1700s. This bible substitute the name "Phillip'' for the disciple Peter in a famous passage of the New Testament. Any error of this type might make a bible more interesting to collectors.  

Famous Person 

If a famous person is associated with a particular bible, this can increase its value. For instance, if a well-known person has signed a bible, the signature might make an otherwise unremarkable bible quite valuable. Also, if a bible has drawings from a famous illustrator, such as Gustave Dore, this can increase its attractiveness to collectors. 

In addition to the listed considerations, other factors, such as condition, also affect a bible's value. One good idea to learn more about this topic is to talk with someone who works in a used bookstore. They will typically have experience dealing with collectible books such as rare bibles. Check out websites like for more information.