SHADY COVE — Pastor Jack Bacon is offering the last 200 pages of his torn and tattered 409-year-old Bible for sale at a discount and for a good cause, he says.
"Our repairs are done. We want to help others now. All the money is going to help local and foreign missions," says Bacon, pastor of the Assembly of God Church.
Bacon sold pages of the rare 1599 Geneva Bible to raise $23,000 to repair wind, water and woodpecker damage to the church building. Now, Bacon wants to sell the remaining pages for $75 each and donate the proceeds to help missions, he says.
The Bible was given to him as a Father's Day present by his son, who purchased it for a buck at a yard sale. Water-stained and missing its spine and cover, the most the Bible would fetch was $300 — if it were sold whole.
But Bacon realized selling the individual pages of the Bible could raise much more. After a story about the Bible ran in the Mail Tribune and was picked up by The Associated Press, Bacon was inundated with page requests from local residents and Bible-lovers from as far away as Oklahoma and Florida.
Most of the pages sold for $100. And Bacon's church didn't have to borrow a dime to fix its leaking roof, woodpecker-pocked siding and other damage, Bacon says.
The Geneva Bible is the version experts say was brought to America by Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. The first English Bible to introduce numbered verses, it was the version read by William Shakespeare and used by Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.
Bacon's Bible has endured much and suffered extensive damage during the past four centuries. But it still holds new surprises, he says. As Bacon pulls pages loose from the binding, he often finds hair. Pilgrim hair, he believes.
There also are burn marks, souvenirs of fireside readers, and mistakes from early printing presses, he says.
Inside the distressed tome are messages in faded script that detail births, deaths, marriages and other important milestones.
Many of the pages bought last year were given as holiday gifts. Bacon is proud of a note of thanks he received from best-selling Christian book author Max Lucado. Another woman bought the whole book of Nehemiah at $200 a page.
Bacon can be reached at 621-9737 or by e-mail at Precha@embarqmail.com.
Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.