SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Ever wanted to own artifacts from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Here is your chance – a private collection is up for sale.
The collection of rare and historic letters, books, documents, and art relating to the Church, valued at $3.2 million, has been dubbed as possibly “one of the last opportunities to acquire such important LDS memorabilia.” According to the Bailey Family Trust, the G. Ralph Bailey collection offers insight into the history of the colonization of the American West and the early years of the Church.
“This is one of the most valuable and expansive LDS collections in private hands today,” says Jerry Erkelens, Personal Property Appraiser at Intermountain Auction and Appraisal. “In my 40 years of appraising LDS works, I have never come across anything quite like it. With more than 4,000 items, this collection provides a unique lens into a transformational time for the religion, which helps piece together significant moments within U.S. history.”
The late Bailey collected items exploiting American history from the perspective of the early Church community. Among the items for sale include more than 30 letters written by Brigham Young during the settlement of the Salt Lake Valley describing how the Church tried to stop the army from entering the Utah territory. It also recounts Young’s reaction to the U.S. Government’s political and judicial activities related to Church practices.
Also in the collection are rare books and early Church pamphlets, including three first edition Books of Mormon, legal property and society documents, and a selection of drawings by Utah artists Jack Sears. Some of the documents date as far back as the early 1800s.
SLIDESHOW: Some of the documents in the G. Ralph Bailey collection
“Our father was a treasure hunter with an inquisitive mind who would spend time talking to all sorts of interesting characters in each town, flea market, or garage sale he visited,” says Pam Collard, Ralph Bailey’s daughter. “He loved history and finding interesting clues and documents that shared insight into areas he was passionate about including the U.S. and its religious history.”
To maintain the integrity of the collection, the Bailey Family Trust says it will be offered and sold as one lot. Any questions or offers can be sent directly to the Trustee of the Bailey Family Trust, Scott Best, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A bidder’s brochure is available upon request.