Beliefnet
SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 11, 2001 (AP)--The New York auction house Christie's plans to auction off a rare, complete copy of an early Mormon document this month, one of only about two dozen known to exist.

The document, the Book of Commandments, is an early version of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Doctrine and Covenants.

An incomplete version sold last year for about $350,000, said Curt Bench, a Salt Lake City rare-book and document dealer. Christie's estimate for the complete volume is $400,000 to $500,000.

Christie's got the book from the non-Mormon grandchildren of a New York book collector who bought it at an auction in 1930, said Chris Coover, senior specialist in books and manuscripts at Christie's. The auction is scheduled for Oct. 29 in New York.

Several people have made inquiries, Coover said. ``I am pretty confident that we will sell it.''

Part of the value of the Book of Commandments is its story.

After the church's founding in 1830 in upstate New York, church leaders decided to publish Joseph Smith's writings, which they believed to be the product of divine revelation.

The church bought a printing press and planned to print 10,000 copies of the Book of Commandments. But on July 20, 1833, a mob broke into the home of publisher William W. Phelps and threw the press, type and printed sheets out a window.

Only about two dozen complete copies could be saved.

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