An 1837 first edition of A Voice of Warning by Parley P. Pratt is one of the rarest of the rare Mormon antiquarian books and it is listed for the first time ever in eBay’s history. The seller passed over Christie’s or Sotheby’s and opted to use eBay where it is currently found as a buy-it-now-listing with a price tag of $75,000. The seller promises that “all offers will be reviewed.” Shipping is free as they plan to hand-deliver the book anywhere in the world no extra cost.
Just how “rare” is an 1837 first edition of A Voice of Warning? Ask any collector or purveyor of Mormon antiquarian books if they have one and they will probably tell you they have never even seen one. Only the heavy hitters have a first edition of A Voice of Warning. The Library of Congress, the Community of Christ (formerly known as the RLDS Church), the LDS Church and BYU each have at least one copy. Very few of the ultra-serious private collectors will let the public know what they have.
Some of the most highly prized of early Mormon literature are, in order of expected price at auction, the Book of Commandments ($1,000,000 to $1,500,000), the first edition of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon ($500,000 to $700,000), the 1836 first edition of HYMNS compiled by Emma Smith ($200,000 to $500,000), the first edition of the Book of Mormon ($70,000 to $180,000), the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants ($80,000 to $125,000) and the first edition of A Voice of Warning ($75,000 to $100,000).
Like diamonds, antiquarian books have three “C’s” that contribute to the value of the book and they are: Condition, Content and Collectability.
Collectability does not equal rarity. The first edition of the Book of Mormon, for example, is highly sought after but is not very rare at all in that you can always find one for sale on eBay, at Christie’s, at Sotheby’s or at any one of several of the booksellers that specialize in early Mormon books. Public sales of A Voice of Warning, on the other hand, are truly rare. Research finding only three in the past two decades.
Content: Those claiming that Parley P. Pratt was an Apostle of Jesus Christ will point out that A Voice of Warning was the first book written by an Apostle of Jesus Christ since John the Beloved wrote his Gospel and the Book of Revelations. According to bibliographers Crawley and Flake, “A Voice of Warningis the most significant book in all of Mormon literature after the canonized scripture.”
Condition: This particular copy of the first edition of A Voice of Warning looks to be in very good shape. The original cover is intact and the pages are tight. The eBay listing, of course, has some pictures of the book. There are additional pictures available via a link on Parley P. Pratt’s Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parley_P._Pratt#External_links.
The book is currently in Utah for those interested in a scheduling a personal examination evaluation.
You hear stories about incredible finds at yard sales. For one ultra-serious private collector or major institution who does not have a copy of the first edition of A Voice of Warning we have found one for you at the “global garage sale,” eBay.
Experience Press is based in Palmyra, NY, the birthplace of Mormonism. Among many things, Experience Press publishes technically accurate reprints of historically significant books using 19th century letter-press printing equipment. They are selling this copy of A Voice of Warning directly from the library of Helen Spencer Schlie.
Experience Press is also publishing a facsimile reprint made from this copy of the 1837 first edition A Voice of Warning.
Experience Press is found on the web at http://www.ExperiencePress.org.