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About Us

The Bible Museum & GreatSite.com

The world has turned to us for over a quarter-century for rare and antique Bibles and ancient Biblical materials. Since 1987, we have been the world’s largest dealer of rare and antique Bibles … selling more rare Bibles in fact, than the combined total of all other rare book dealers in the world! And since 1996, we have maintained our online showroom at GREATSITE.COM, a website so popular that thousands of other websites of churches, ministries, and individuals link to it, and we receive close to 5,000 website visitors every day.

We also have a store-front showroom open 24-hours-a day, in Phoenix, Arizona. Just contact us to arrange a visit. Our customer service office is in Orlando, Florida (though no books are housed there). Our private vaults are in various locations across the USA and in London, England.

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If you would like to receive inventory updates, and special SALE offers including discounts and bonus gifts available only to our Email Newsletter subscribers, you should sign up to receive our Email Newsletter today. As an added bonus, you will also receive FREE access to the Bible Museum’s Online Digital Library of Ancient Bibles, where you can view EVERY page of many ancient Bibles in full-color & high-resolution… if you sign up for our Email Newsletter today.

Greatsite Marketing / GREATSITE.COM is a Dun & Bradstreet Rated Company (#01-400-1866) owned by John Lawton Jeffcoat III. It serves as the exclusive marketing and sales arm of The Bible Museum, Inc., owned by Dr. Craig H. Lampe (International Director of the World Bible Society). Our companies are Christian-owned and a large portion of our profits are donated to missionary ministries.

If you want to know more about us, and why you should feel perfectly safe and confident doing business with us, feel free to CONTACT US with any questions or concerns, but take a moment first to click below and read about our company history, and see our many reviews & endorsements.

Our Company History

In 1987, the International Director of the World Bible Society, Dr. Craig Lampe, decided to create a very special company. He approached his long-time friend, Dr. Jonathan Byrd, and presented him the idea: to corner-the-market on rare and antique Bibles, and set up an organization that would restore and preserve the ancient printings of God’s Word for future generations, and make these wonderful treasures available for sale. This new company would be the world’s primary source for antiquarian Bibles.

Dr. Byrd had just sold off all seven of his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, and was preparing the build the largest cafeteria in the United States. You can read more about the intriguing story behind that cafeteria in this article from Guideposts Magazine. Jonathan Byrd Racing is also one of the biggest names in Indy Car Racing, and Dr. Byrd was the 2002 pick for the Indianapolis Speedrome Hall of Fame, which you can read about here.

Dr. Byrd decided to fund Dr. Lampe’s idea, and “Jonathan Byrd’s Rare Books & Bibles” was born. Originally, the company had no public showroom or store-front. It was housed in a small windowless storage room in the offices above Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria in Greenwood, Indiana. The only way people found out about the company at all was essentially through word-of-mouth referral… yet by 1989, they were already the world’s largest dealer of rare and antique Bibles!

Five years later, in 1994, John Jeffcoat took up the hobby of collecting old Bibles. After visiting more than twenty “rare book dealers” he was very discouraged to find that Bibles printed prior to the 1800’s seemed to be completely unavailable. In voicing this concern to one rare book dealer, he was told, “Of course you can’t find any ancient Bibles… one man has them all… but he will sell you whatever you want if you call him. His name is Dr. Craig Lampe… here’s his phone number.” Two brief phone calls later, John was in his car, driving over 1,200 miles round-trip, to see this little shop above a cafeteria that had managed to become a world-wide-near-monopoly in the niche market of rare and antique Bibles. Two days later, he returned home, having made the first of what would be tens of thousands of dollars in purchases from this wonderful little shop over the next few years.

In 1996, John Jeffcoat approached Dr. Lampe with an idea: to build a website that would showcase a sampling of the company’s inventory of ancient Bibles and Bible leaves, and through search engine listings and printed advertisements for the website, make this awesome material known and available to the public… world-wide. Through nothing less than divine providence, John was able to secure possession of the highly desirable URL address “GREATSITE.COM”, and a few weeks later, the virtual store was open for business. The response was so great, that within a few weeks, John quit his full-time job so he could handle the calls and emails that were coming in every day from around the world.

Much like John’s own personal experience two years earlier in suddenly discovering the availability of these awesome rare Bibles… once the availability of this material was made known to the world… many people instantly became collectors. After all, what more rewarding hobby could there be than collecting the earliest printings of God’s Word? What more valuable and precious commodity is there? What better investment or family heirloom?

With millions of dollars in annual sales, and a website drawing over 1,000 visitors per day, the world’s largest for-sale collection of rare and antique Bibles now needed a store front showroom more elegant than an unmarked storage room above a cafeteria. Fortunately, Dr. Byrd had continued to expand his entrepreneurial ventures, and was now building three new luxury Hotels in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

In 1999, the company moved its headquarters from Greenwood, Indiana, to Goodyear, Arizona. Our Rare Bible Showroom is now housed in the Grand Lobby of one of Arizona’s most beautiful new hotels, where the showroom is open for visitors 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, (though in-person purchases can only be made during regular business hours). You may want to read the article written about us in the Arizona Republic which details how more than 50% of Jonathan Byrd’s profit is given to missionary ministries each year, and so far the company profits have enabled us to fund the printing and distribution of several million Bibles for missionaries through groups like “The Bible League”, and to help found the largest Christian Church in the predominantly Hindu nation of India. You may also want to read the Wall Street Journal article written about GREATSITE.COM. If you would like to visit us and tour our Rare Bible Showroom and “Bookvault”, and perhaps even stay the night in our Hotel, just CONTACT US. We can also arrange to pick you up at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and give you free transportation to our facility which is only 20 minutes west of the airport, and less than one mile from Interstate 10.

Each suite features an oversized whirlpool tub, large screen televisions, and breathtaking views of the mountains and the world-class golf course that surrounds the hotel. A beautiful center atrium with a pool, hot tub, and exercise facility are on one side of the Rare Bible Showroom, and for your convenience an in-house Avis Car Rental office is right across the hallway by the 24-hour snack room and concierge desk. On the other side of our lobby is our banquet facility, which can hold up to 500 people for special events, such as our Bible History Symposium which we hold about three times a year.

In 2004, due to ongoing health concerns, Dr. Jonathan Byrd retired, leaving his business empire to his sons, and selling his interest in the Rare Bible business to his business partner of many years, Dr. Craig Lampe. “Jonathan Byrd’s Rare Books & Bibles” was re-named “The Bible Museum, Inc.”, and was fully-owned by Dr. Craig Lampe from 2004 until 2021.

In August of 2021, Dr. Craig Lampe passed away at the age of 77, and left The Bible Museum to his son Joel Lampe, who is now the Owner and Senior Curator of The Bible Museum.

World-wide sales, marketing, and customer service, continues to be handled by John L. Jeffcoat, who since 1996 has been the owner of GREATSITE.COM and Director of Marketing for The Bible Museum.

References & Endorsements

As “The Bible Museum, Inc.” at WWW.GREATSITE.COM has grown since 1987, we have acquired an amazing customer base which now includes:

  • Pastors of many of the largest churches in America
  • Presidents & Directors of the largest ministries and seminaries in the world
  • CEO’s of several “Fortune 500” companies and members of the “Forbes 400”
  • Museum Directors, publishers, investment bankers, commodity brokers
  • Many of the most famous stars of film, television, and professional sports
  • Many Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and Judges
  • Even one former President of the United States

“We started by ordering a framed Bible Leaf for John MacArthur as a gift. Since then, I and many others on church staff have made purchases from GREATSITE.COM, and our purchases have made great additions to our homes and offices.”
Dr. Tom Pennington | Executive Pastor: Grace Community Church | Los Angeles, CA | The Ministry of Dr. John MacArthur

“My experience with GREATSITE.COM has been nothing but pleasant. The quality of materials I have purchased from them has been excellent, and the well-informed advice on Biblical antiquities they have shared with me on numerous occasions has been extremely helpful.”
Rev. Harold Rawlings: Senior Pastor | Landmark Baptist Temple| Cincinnati, OH

“We’ve offered a number of GREATSITE.COM’s facsimiles and Bible leaves in our Ligonier Ministries Resource catalog over the years. The Bible Museum has also exhibited their rare and antique Bibles and leaves at our National Conferences (for five years now)”
Alan Yardis | Former Sr. Vice President of Marketing | Ligonier Ministries / “Renewing Your Mind” | The Teaching Ministry of Dr. R.C. Sproul
“Ligonier Ministries”, “Renewing Your Mind”, and “R.C. Sproul” are registered trademarks. Their use here is limited to reference, and does not in any way imply a blanket endorsement.

“GREATSITE.COM has been running full page advertisements in WORLD (the fourth-largest news magazine in America) for years. We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with them, and have even given their beautiful framed Bible leaves as gifts to special clients and friends of WORLD Magazine.”
Jennifer Graham: Advertising Director | WORLD Magazine

“As a personal friend of the men who run both Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses, there is one thing that speaks volumes of your reputation: both of these institutions, when asked to refer me to a dealer of antique and rare biblical material mentioned only one dealer: GREATSITE.COM . That tells me all I need to know! I am very comfortable doing business with you, and your collection is amazing.”
Alex Peabody | Investment Banker and Collector | Formerly with Morgan Stanley & Solomon Smith Barney

“The Bible League has purchased many Bible leaves from The Bible Museum, Inc. to present to our Bible League Partners. These leaves are unique gifts and always very much appreciated.”
The Bible League | Chicago, IL

“We have worked with The Bible Museum and GREATSITE.COM for rare Bible leaves, which we frame as special awards for pro-family legislators and supporters. We have always been pleased with the quality… and the recipients have always been pleased.”
Carolyn E. Kunkle: Development Director | Christian Coalition of Florida

“The Bible Museum, Inc. is a wealth of Biblical heritage made available to those who normally would not have access to such fascinating resources. The website at GREATSITE.COM is informative, the prices reasonable, and the service reliable, trustworthy, and speedy. I enjoy the pieces I have from this… well… ‘great site’!”
Dr. Michael S. Beates | Dean of Students | Reformed Theological Seminary | Pastor: Covenant Presbyterian Church

“We have several items purchased from The Bible Museum / GREATSITE.COM on display at our museum in Houston, Texas. They share our desire to make ancient printed Biblical material more readily available to the public, and we are proud to work with them to accomplish that goal.”
Don Piercy: Director | The Museum of Printing History

 

Master and Commander

Shown here is a scene from the 2003 movie “Master and Commander”, in which Academy Award winning actor Russell Crowe holds an ancient Bible he purchased from us, for use in this movie.

FAQ

Yes, but BEFORE you call or E-Mail us, about your Bible or book, you MUST FIRST go to our Appraisals Page, and follow the required steps there. It will only take a moment. Please do not call us or email us with questions about a Bible or book that you own, until AFTER you visit the Appraisals Page, and see if your question is answered there, as it is 90% of the time.

No…sorry. We do NOT publish a printed catalogue or list. Our inventory turns over far too quickly. We have several thousand ancient Bibles in stock, and we sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth every MONTH! Any printed catalogue would be out of date before it came off the press. The website, (which shows a good representative sampling of less than 5% of our total inventory), will give you a good general idea of how vast our selection is, and the approximate price range of most types of items. Call us once you have a general idea of what you might want, and we will discuss your options with you.

NO. With the exception of our facsimile reproductions, we only sell items that were printed MORE THAN 200 YEARS AGO. We only buy and sell Bibles from the 1700’s, 1600’s, 1500’s, 1400’s and 1300’s. Also, we do not sell antique Bibles or books that cost less than $1,000. In fact, nearly all the Bibles we sell are over $3,500.

Again, please carefully read the answer to the question above. We ONLY deal in ANCIENT Bibles that were printed MORE THAN 200 YEARS AGO, which tend to be fairly expensive. Also, we cannot “refer you to another dealer” who might have that type of material, because NOBODY in the world specializes in Bibles that are “old and out-of-print, but not ancient and really expensive.” There is virtually no market for that, (thus, no profit), so nobody specializes in that. Try contacting the publisher for advice on out-of-print Bibles. That’s just NOT what we do.

You can search online for ‘BOOKBINDERS’, there are many across the country that can do this service for you.

We acquire our inventory from many sources including: museums, seminaries, private galleries, large estate sales, Sotheby’s & Christie’s, English country book fairs, other rare book dealers, insurance companies, antiquity brokers, our own customers, and people who find our website and have a Bible they wish to sell us.

Because you can easily find them at any of the many Christian Bookstores across America. We are NOT a bookstore; we are the world’s largest Biblical Antiquities Dealer. Lamborghini Dealers don’t usually sell Fords and Chevy’s, either 🙂

All Bibles are stored in our Bible Museum & Showroom in the Phoenix, Arizona area. We are happy to give directions to our facility upon request. Our showroom is open to the public 24-hours-a-day, but purchases can be made only on an individual appointment basis. You can see photos of our showroom on the Company History & Showroom page. Our Director of Marketing handles all questions, advertising, and website sales from our Lake Mary, Florida marketing office (ten miles North of Orlando, FL), but NO BOOKS are kept at that address.

WE DO NOT! We only sell leaves from Bibles that were already missing MANY pages when we acquired them. For more details, see the side-note on the Overview of Our Bible Leaves page.

Yes, of course. Your satisfaction is unconditionally guaranteed with ANY Bible, leaf, or book purchased. Simply call us or email us within not more than ONE WEEK of receiving your order and ask for our return shipping address and return authorization. You will receive a 100% refund as soon as we get the returned package. Please note that after one week from the date you receive your order, all sales become FINAL. We do also, however, offer a LIFETIME (no time limit) guaranteed 100% dollar-for-dollar buyback for store credit on any ancient Bible purchased… so you know your Bible will never go down in value. Try to find another rare book dealer willing to make you that offer! We stand behind what we sell.

We accept ALL major credit cards on orders up to ten thousand dollars. We accept Money Orders and Bank Cashier’s Checks on ANY size order. Wire Funds Transfer is also acceptable. The only thing we do NOT accept is Personal Checks (and of course, subway tokens, food stamps, small pebbles, livestock, and most garden vegetables, including legumes and squash). We have, on occasion, been known to barter and trade one rare Bible for another one… or to accept a rare Bible as partial payment for a more expensive rare Bible.

Actually that sort of thing simply does not happen. In the 23 years we have been in this business, we have never once heard of any dealer, anywhere, trying to pass off a “fake” as an antiquarian Bible. They simply cannot be counterfeited in such a way that would fool even the most naïve of people. One cannot manufacture “aged” rag cotton linen sheets, nor convincingly duplicate the irregular and uneven appearance of print from an ancient moveable-type press. To even attempt to do so, and do it well, would cost more money than all but the most expensive of the genuine originals would be worth… so there is no incentive. Much like ancient gold coins or classic automobiles, this is an arena in which “fakes” have simply never been convincingly attempted by anyone.

True, we sell “facsimile reproductions” ourselves on this website… but they are merely a photographic imaging that is100% identical to the textual appearance of the originals for study purposes. They do not have the physical structure, “feel”, patina, or aged qualities of the real thing. Even most children would know instantly that they are not real. Of course, the brand-new paper, flawless appearance, and the ISBN number and copyright date in the front might give it away too!

Think about it: if I show you a high-quality $50 poster of a Rembrandt or Monet painting… it looks photographically 100% identical to the original for study purposes, but it does not have the brush strokes, or cracking paint on canvas, or “feel” of an ancient original. Anyone would know instantly is was not real.

As soon as you hold one of our genuine original ancient Bibles in your hands, you will see why this is simply not an issue. Nevertheless, we are happy to provide you with a Certificate of Authenticity for any Bible purchased, and such certificates come automatically with any Bible Leaf purchased. If you still have questions or concerns about this, just contact us any time, and be sure to review our References section above.

Orders for Bible leaves and facsimiles are typically processed within a day or two, and then shipped by FED EX 2 to 3 business-day air. If you need it even faster than that (my… you are in a hurry), just ask about guaranteed overnight shipping at a very small additional fee. Ancient Bibles are shipped within 24-hours via FED EX Overnight at no charge to you for shipping. FREE FAST SHIPPING: FED EX Shipping is FREE on any order of $400 or more, and for any order under $400, FED EX Shipping is a flat-rate of just $15. International shipping rates are discussed at the bottom of the CONTACT US page.

We own it all. It is our in-house inventory. On rare occasion, we will go outside of our own inventory to locate a special request for a customer, but that is not necessary 95% of the time. We have tens of millions of dollars worth of rare Bibles and ancient theology books in stock.

We are not a non-profit organization (we have mouths to feed). A very significant portion of our profits, however, do go to fund the distribution of Bibles around the world to missionaries and those who need a Bible. Much of the rest of the profit goes back into the business for acquiring and restoring ancient Bibles to preserve them for future generations. You may wish to read the article written about us in the Arizona Republic for more details

(It is truly sad that anyone would actually hold such a delusional view, or ask such an offensive question… yet people continue to ask it.) Think about it: Don’t you pay your Pastor a salary? Don’t Bible publishers make a profit? Doesn’t your local Christian Bookstore make a profit? Did you know that a large portion of our profits have enabled us to GIVE AWAY MILLIONS OF BIBLES to missionaries around the world?

Oh my… we sure do! If you are in the mood for a good laugh, be sure to visit our official GREATSITE.COM “Phone Call Hall of Shame” to read the transcripts of some of our most frustrating calls.

When pricing Bibles, we generally use the price we PAID as well as the last auction-house price of similar material as guidelines for determining an appropriate price level. Being the dominant force in the rare Bible market, our prices actually tend to “set the pace” for the world market to some extent. Those who collect stamps, coins, baseball cards, and comic books have objective publications they can turn to for pricing guidelines because millions of people are active collectors of that material. Even those who collect “modern firsts” books (a first edition of 20th century classics like “Gone with the Wind”, etc.) have a objective publication called “Book Prices Realized” that they can turn to for pricing guidelines. Because there are “only” several thousand people who collect ancient Bibles, our market does not have such objective pricing guideline publications. Admittedly, the rare Bible market is a small “niche” market, but our company is the primary “market maker”, and we have a reputation for high quality, vast selection, and very reasonable prices for over 16 years.

Well, that depends on how you define “competitor”. If you mean “Is there anyone else who moves even 10 % of the quantity of antiquarian Bibles that you do?”…the answer is NO. If you think there are many people who sell this material, I invite you to grab your local Yellow Pages Phone Directory and call ALL the used book dealers, and ask how many have even ONE Bible in stock that is over 200 years old. I doubt that you will find even ONE! They are THAT SCARCE and they are bought-up immediately when found. We sell more rare and antique Bibles than all the other rare book dealers in the world COMBINED. Our position in this small market has been one of “nearly a monopoly” for a decade and a half.

You are going to be shocked by my answer. The “money” is the issue only about 20% of the time, because most of the people collecting Bibles over $10,000 each are fairly well-off and they consider it an investment. What stops them the other 80% of the time? Believe it or not, it is nearly always the same thing: their wife!

The majority of our customers who purchase our most expensive items are men who are successful business owners and have become Christians later in life. Most of the time, these men are married to women who are either not Christians, or if they are Christians… they simply don’t share their husband’s deep passion for the Word of God. They do, however, hold great influence over their husband. I have to smile when I hear men speak with such false bravado about how they “make all the decisions” and how they are the “head of the family”. Someone once said, “the man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck… and the neck turns the head!” It is so very true.

You would not believe how frequently we have long-standing customers call us and say that not only do they have to stop collecting the ancient Bibles that they love so dearly… (that were to be a great part of their children’s inheritance, and that have already doubled in value in the past five years)… but they are also being forced to sell every Bible they have immediately! What would cause this, you ask? Are they being sued or has there been a family tragedy? No. Each time, they sheepishly tell me the same thing… “Well, my wife says I can’t spend any more money on Bibles, and she is angry every time she looks at my collection, and she says I have to sell them all right now.”

This is not an isolated incident… we see it happen all the time. It is the single biggest obstacle in our business. What is the moral to this story? It is two-fold: First; if you are not married, obey the teachings of the Lord and only marry a believer who shares your passion for the Word of God. Second; if it is too late for you to take that advice, at least discuss your desire to collect ancient Bibles with your wife before you begin, so she does not feel resentful of your collection.

Our most satisfied customers are often couples who share a passion for collecting God’s Word… and it draws them closer to each other as they pursue it together. A house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25).

They refer to the size of a book or Bible in terms of how many times the original sheets were folded and cut to fit into the binding. If folded once, the result is the largest of books, a “folio”. A large pulpit Bible for example, is always a folio. If folded again (and cut, of course, to allow all pages to open), the result is a “quarto”. Over 90% of all books on the shelves at your local bookstore today are “quartos” measuring approximately 9 by 6 inches… give or take an inch. Did you ever notice that the vast majority of books are about the same height? If folded and cut again, you have an “octavo” book, like a small purse-bible. Even smaller books are called “12mo” and “16mo”, etc.

You can start by reviewing our English Bible History Page. This should give you a detailed foundational knowledge of the subject, and help you to decide what items you would like to have in your personal collection.

Phone Call Hall of Shame

Come with us on a hilarious and sad adventure through some of our favorite phone calls, from the truly hopeless… to the totally clueless. Enjoy!