Over the past twenty-five years I have tracked down almost a thousand copies of the Book of Mormon that were printed between 1830-1920.  I am fascinated by the history of the Book of Mormon.   I would like to share with you ten little-known facts about the Book of Mormon:
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1)  
You will not find “Third Nephi” or “Fourth Nephi” in the first edition¬†Book of Mormon–or any other¬†edition of the¬†Book of¬†Mormon¬†printed prior to 1879. You will, however, find two books with the titles ¬†“The Book of Nephi, The Son of Nephi, Which Was the Son of Helaman”¬†¬†and “The Book of Nephi, Which Was the Son of Nephi, One of the Disciples of Jesus Christ“.¬† In 1879, when Orson Pratt divided the¬†Book of Mormon¬†into what is now our current chapters and verses, ¬† “III¬†Nephi” and “IV¬†Nephi” were added to these titles for clarification.¬† In 1920, they were¬†again revised to “Third Nephi” and “Fourth Nephi”.

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2)
 There were five editions of the Book of Mormon printed during the life of Joseph Smith [1805-1844].  The first edition was printed in Palmyra, New York in 1830.  The second edition was printed seven years later in Kirtland, Ohio [1837].  The third edition was printed in Nauvoo in 1840.  The first European edition was printed in Liverpool, England  in 1841.  And, in 1842,  another edition was printed in Nauvoo.
 
3) ¬†The first edition¬†Book of Mormon¬†was originally bound in brown¬†calfskin with seven double-banded gold [gilt] lines on the spine with a black label stamped “Book of Mormon“.¬† Almost all copies–over 99%– were bound with a black label.¬† However, there were a few¬†–perhaps two dozen–bound with red and tan labels.¬† Hyrum Smith had a tan label on his copy–as did Eliza Partridge.¬† There are only three known copies with a red label.
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4) For almost three decades, between 1842-1871,  there were no copies of the Book of Mormon printed by the Church in America.  During this time, however,  there were four editions printed in Liverpool, England (1849, 1852, 1854 & 1866).

5)
¬†The first three editions of the¬†Book of Mormon (1830, 37, 40)¬†placed the “Testimony of ¬†Three Witnesses” and also the “Testimony of Eight Witnesses”¬†at the end of the book–following the book of Moroni.¬† The 1841 Liverpool edition was the first edition to move the “witness” page to the front.
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6)
¬†The first edition¬†Book of Mormon¬†contains a “Preface”.¬† Joseph Smith felt¬†that a preface was necessary to address the loss of the 116 pages. ¬†“As many false reports have been circulated¬†respecting the¬†following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated by the gift and¬†power of God, and¬†caused to be written, one hundred sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me,¬†notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again….”. ¬†This preface is not included in any other edition.
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7)
¬†In 1851 the first foreign language edition of the¬†Book of Mormon (Danish)was printed. The French, German and Italian editions soon followed in 1852. The first Spanish edition¬†didn’t appear until 1886.¬† The German [1852] and the Hawaiian [1855] are the rarest of the foreign language editions.¬† Only about a dozen of each have survived.

8)
¬†The first edition¬†Book of Mormon¬†shows “Joseph Smith, Jr.” ¬†as the “Author and Proprietor“. ¬† All subsequent editions of the¬†Book of Mormon¬†(1837 – present)¬†show Joseph Smith as the translator. ¬†
 
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9)
 The 1852 Book of Mormon (third European edition) was the first to number verses [paragraphs].  In 1879, Orson Pratt divided the Book of Mormon into smaller chapters and verses.  These are the same chapters and verses used in the current editions of the Book of Mormon.  
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10)
 There were 5,000 copies of the 
Book of Mormon¬†printed in 1830 at a cost of $3,000–or sixty cents each. The early missionaries, including Samuel Smith, sold these books for $1.25. ¬† Only about 500 of the original 5,000 copies have survived. ¬† Copies now sell for $75,000 – $100,000.¬† In fact, some of these earlier editions–which were owned by well-known Church leaders have sold in excess of one million dollars! ¬†
But, as President Hinckley said in¬†October 2007,¬†Recently a first¬†edition [Book of Mormon] sold for $105,000—but the cheapest paperback edition is as valuable to the reader who loves its language and message.”¬†
 
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Reid N. Moon is the owner of Moon’s Rare Books in Provo, Utah.¬† He and his wife Melanie, and their four younger children are members of the Edgemont 14th Ward in Provo, Utah.