Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Elvis's Bible auctioned for $120 million


A bible that belonged to Elvis Presley sold at auction for $120 million, according to CBN. It contains "a large number of marked pages and passages" that the rock star highlighted personally. 

Elvis's bible is an excellent example of a "relic text," a material book valued for its unique history and form. Its printed text is the same as countless other bibles, but its association with Elvis makes it very valuable. Why? Because, as I wrote in How and Why Books Matter (2019), "relic texts legitimize a story .... People use them to identify with and place themselves in that story. ... Since ritualizing a text's iconic dimension bestows legitimacy, people will go to great lengths and spend large sums of money to own and display a relic text."

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