Auctions | November 23, 2021

Private LDS Collection Valued at $3.2 Million Available for Sale

Photo: Business Wire

Three first editions of the Book of Mormon are included in the sale.

Salt Lake City, UT — A collection of rare and historic letters, books, documents, and art relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church) is available for purchase, with artifacts valued at 3.2 million dollars.

The G. Ralph Bailey collection offers insight into the history of the colonization of the American West and the early years of the LDS church. Many new narratives are available to explore in this privately held collection.

“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. “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 Ralph Bailey collected unique and significant items that explore American history from the perspective of the early LDS church community. Historical items include 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 and recounting Young’s reaction to the U.S. Government's political and judicial activities concerning church practices.

The one-of-a-kind collection also includes many rare books and early LDS pamphlets, such as three first edition Books of Mormon, profound legal property and society documents, and a selection of drawings by Utah artist, Jack Sears, plus many other extraordinary documents that date as far back as the early 1800s.

“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. “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.”

The LDS Church is known to have played a considerable role in the colonization of western America. It is through this collection that we can learn more about the everyday lifestyle and challenges of the Old West.

To maintain the integrity of the collection, it will be offered and sold as one lot. This may be one of the last opportunities to acquire such important LDS memorabilia. Any questions or offers can be sent directly to the Trustee of the Bailey Family Trust, Scott Best, via email at A bidder’s brochure is available upon request.