"Antiques Roadshow" made its way to Boise, Idaho, in an episode that aired on PBS this week. The segment featured something that was new to the appraiser but familiar to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Appraiser Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, met with the owner of the first edition copy of the Book of Mormon, whose family converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after receiving the book in 1833. The owner's name was not released.
According to the segment, the book has traveled from Massachusetts and been carried out West through Missouri to Salt Lake and then Oregon. It has gone through five generations and still remains in good condition. The book was first given to the family as it was investigating the LDS faith and eventually converted.
On the inside of the book there are five signatures for each member of the family the book has been passed down to. Because of this family history, and because of the condition of the book, Sanders raised the appraisal amount from $75,000 to $100,000.
"It's really quite remarkable because in my almost four decades in the rare book business this is the oldest copy in the sense of being under continuous ownership that I've ever come across before," Sanders said.
"It isn't technically the rarest version of the Book of Mormon, but it's really — for LDS people — it's the one that everyone knows and understands and wants."
Other items related to Mormon history have appeared on the "Antiques Roadshow" before. When the show visited Salt Lake City in June 2006, a first edition of The Pearl of Great Price was presented.
An in-depth overview of the LDS Church's history was also published on PBS and was referenced whenever such items were brought in for appraisal.