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Historic Boston church considers sale of hymnal

The Associated Press, Friday, November 30, 2012, 3:57am (PST)

BOSTON (AP) — One of the nation's oldest churches is considering selling a copy of the first book ever published in British North America.

Members of the Old South Church in Boston on Sunday are scheduled to vote on whether to sell one of their two copies of the Bay Psalm Book, published in 1640, along with a collection of Colonial-era silver. They say the sale could help pay for repairs and assure the financial future of the church, established in 1669.

A Sotheby's executive calls the psalm book "the Gutenberg Bible of America," and tells The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/U6abwf ) it could fetch $10 million to $20 million at auction.

The church's lay leadership has mostly endorsed the idea.

But some are strongly opposed. Church historian Jeff Makholm says the sale is short-sighted and unnecessary.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/globe

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