Wildfire Bible sells for $1,025 on eBay
Vail, CO Colorado
SAN DIEGO ” For most people, finding a blackened Bible in the ashes of their home would seem like a miracle. For photographer Robert Sanders, who lost 30 years’ worth of professional archives and almost all of his family’s possessions in last month’s wildfires, it seemed like a golden opportunity.
On Wednesday, Sanders sold his wife’s inherited 1934 King James edition Bible on eBay for $1,025 to another photographer, who wrote to say he was happy to support a kindred spirit.
“It was so badly burned, and I don’t think we’re going to sit around quoting Scripture from it,” Sanders said after the sale. “Right now what we need is literally to buy new stuff, new clothes, to pay our bills ” because none of that went away after the fire.”
The Bible was one of only a few things to emerge from the ashes of Sanders’ rental home in the Rancho Bernardo area, one of hundreds in the neighborhood destroyed by the Witch Fire on Oct. 22.
The house was the only one on the street to burn; embers flying on high winds ignited its wood-shingled roof after Sanders and most of his neighbors evacuated.
Workers from a nearby golf course helped neighbors who stayed behind put out the flames with garden hoses; one of them grabbed a framed photograph of Sanders’ daughter, the only intact item to be saved. Sanders found the Bible amid a pile of his wife’s old children’s books ” including a singed copy of “The Little Engine That Could” ” that had been protected from the worst of the fire by a collapsed pile of drywall.
“We are offering this book as a testimony to anyone who believes this amazing miracle,” Sanders wrote in his eBay posting. “Our entire family history is gone, lost in this firestorm, but someone with the means and the heart ” a divine intervention of another sort ” may help contribute to our rise from the ashes.”
The Bible was purchased by Jeff Mitchum, a landscape photographer in the coastal San Diego town of Encinitas. He said he planned to give the Bible to a friend who collects antiquarian books.
“We just wanted to help him, and to raise awareness of where people were at,” Mitchum said. “It wasn’t anything extravagant ” this was just a simple, wonderful story that struck a chord with me, and I didn’t want anyone else to have it.”
The fires directly killed nine people, destroyed about 2,200 homes and burned more than 500,000 acres. Seven other deaths involving evacuees fleeing the blazes have been indirectly linked to the fires.