Oldest European book is bought by British Library for $12 million

The British Library can finally claim the seventh-century St. Cuthbert Gospel as their own. For a price of £9 million ($14 million), they could purchase the book, which was already in their possession (on loan) since 1979. Scot McKendrick, the head of history and classics at the British Library, said, “It is undoubtedly one of the world’s most important books.” The St. Cuthbert Gospel is the Gospel of St. John and was discovered in the saint’s coffin 900 years ago. From Cuthbert’s coffin, the book is made a long journey starting at the island of Lindisfarne in 698 and Durham in 1104. It is also believed to be the oldest surviving European book and has its original red leather binding, which is in top condition.

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British Library will display the book to the public in London as soon as the deal between them, Durham University, and Durham Cathedral, has been finalized.

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