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Private collection of rare LDS documents valued at $3.2 million for sale

First edition Book of Mormon
Posted at 12:36 PM, Nov 02, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — A private collection of rare LDS-related letters, books, documents, and art valued at $3.2 million is now available for sale.

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Comprising more than 4,000 items, the G. Ralph Bailey collection offers insight into the early years of the LDS Church (Church) and the expansion of the American West.

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“This is one of the most valuable and expansive LDS collections in private hands today,” said Jerry Erkelens, Personal Property Appraiser at Intermountain Auction and Appraisal, who said it provides a "unique lens into a transformational time for the religion."

Ralph Bailey collected items that explore American history from the perspective of the early Church, including more than 30 letters written by Brigham Young during the settlement of Salt Lake Valley describing how the church tried to stop the U.S. Army from entering the Utah territory.

These letters also contain accounts of Young's views on the U.S. government's political and judicial actions related to Church practices.

“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,” said Pam Collard, Ralph Bailey’s daughter.

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Also included in the collection are rare books, early LDS pamphlets, and three first edition Books of Mormon, as well as drawings by Utah artist Jack Sears and documents from the early 1800s.

“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,” added Collard.

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To maintain the integrity of the collection it will be offered and sold as one lot.

Questions or offers should be sent to the Trustee of the Bailey Family Trust, Scott Best, at