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“Since 1972, Hajicek has been studying Mormon origins.
Since 1981, he has been writing about rare Mormon documents.
Since 1991, half of all new discoveries in Mormon history have been by him.”

Specializing in the (Palmyra, 1830) first edition Book of Mormon.

“Calico print patten”
by Sutcliffe Maudsley, Nauvoo Mormon, circa 1842

Posted March 07, 2019

I am a discoverer and preservationist of legendary and priceless, and often unrecognized and undervalued, sacred Mormon relics. My friends call me the “Indiana Jones of Mormonism,” boldly seeking out things not quite equal to the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail—but maybe like Joseph Smith Jr.’s own document file and his own copies of the Mormon scriptures, letters between his Book of Mormon witnesses, a sun-stone from the old Mormon temple in Illinois, a map of the Far West village that Joseph carried in his pocket, or paintings of Joseph made from life.


I became interested in rare books at an early age. While I was being raised Catholic, our family investigated disputed events in Mormon history between 1972 and 1978, eventually moving to a Mormon historic site in 1980 where I lived on a county-line highway called Mormon Road, in Burlington, Wisconsin. Burlington was made a Mormon center by Joseph Smith Sr. in 1835. In the 1840s this was a outpost of the Mormon headquarters at Nauvoo, Illinois, and some say was Joseph Smith Jr.’s hope for a new headquarters in 1844. The Mormon remnant in Burlington was a quaint following of a dozen elderly descendants who invited me into their esoteric inner circle, and instilled in me a love for their heritage. In 1982 I bought my first Joseph Smith-period Book of Mormon for $2,000 from Ken Sanders’ bookstore in Salt Lake City. In 1991 I preserved an early hand-hewn stone Mormon house in Burlington. After 1988, though, I emigrated part-time to Independence, Missouri—a more famous Mormon history headquarters from 1831. In fact, Independence was the place where the rarest Mormon book of all was printed in 1833, and I found a few. My homes in Wisconsin and Missouri allowed me to crisscross Illinois a hundred times to stop in Nauvoo and Carthage, and appreciate the Illinois citizens’ view of Mormon history. Certainly there were Mormons in the Carthage Jail who were shooting, when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot in their backs—and then Brigham Young ordered the scorched-earth burning of the Nauvoo temple as the Mormons left. I grew to love the Nauvoo temple from my special knowledge of its architecture, artisans, stonework, use, and its fiery fate. My Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri experiences helped me become an expert on the divergent views of Mormonism and gives me a free-thinking perspective of Mormon history that vindicates the citizens of Hancock County while having compassion for the emotions of both the fearful Mormons and their frustrated neighbors.

In the course of this immersion experience, I grew into a serious private collector and church purchaser, responsible for buying $25 million in church library, archives, and museum holdings totaling 50,000 items. By 2019, I purchased over 100 copies of the first edition Book of Mormon, 25 copies of the first Doctrine and Covenants, seven copies of the first Mormon hymn book, and four copies of the Book of Commandments; as well as hundreds of other books printed before 1844. I have now been a student of obscure Mormon history for 47 years, buying rare Mormon books for 37 years, had the world’s largest private collection for over 28 years, and have been buying books on this Mormonism.com site for 23 years. Along the way, my discoveries made me broaden from my Midwestern Mormon expertise and I developed an open-minded expertise in early Mormon origins, particularly in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania (1791-1831). Half of all new discoveries of Mormon history in the past 28 years have been by me. I am working a multi-volume supplemental history entitled Discoveries in Mormonism which will be heavily illustrated with art, photographs, and rare books that I have unearthed, and especially early documents. This book will validate the neighbors of Joseph Smith Jr. from Vermont to Illinois, while remaining friendly to Joseph and the Book of Mormon as a rightfully consequential literary work.

Although I do not hold myself out as a dealer, I have on occasion helped to acquire items for other high-end collectors; and freely advise both buyers and sellers on items valued $5,000 and up made before 1880. If you are interested in either buying or selling an 1830 Book of Mormon, or any other rare edition of any Mormon scripture, sacred hymns, newspapers, or tracts printed before 1880, or any similar quality artwork or artifact, please call or email me for free help or an evaluation.

My collection strengths are the Joseph Smith Sr. family and Mormon origins (1791-1860), Joseph Smith Sr. experiential sites in Vermont and along the Erie Canal and Susquehanna in New York and Pennsylvania, early Mormon gathering sites (New York, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan), the architecture of the first Mormon temples (Zion, Far West, Kirtland, and Nauvoo), Mormon scriptures and hymn books (1830-1871), Mormons in early newspapers (1816-1856), the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith (1844), Mormon presidential succession, (1844-1877), Mormons on the Great Lakes (1831-1856), graphic images of early Mormon scenes (1834-1904), early Mormon art (especially Sutcliffe Maudsley and David W. Rogers), and early Mormon b&w photography (1844-1939).

The competition between collectors and libraries is fierce, because collectors pay so much more for rare books than do libraries. I am in my mid-50’s, but when I was a college student in my 20’s, a Utah library accused me of not returning a college library book here in Missouri. However, I was not in Missouri at the time, and I brought-forth my credit card receipts and cellular phone records to prove it. Afterward, a Missouri university police sergeant was convicted in that case. I have been buying rare books for 35 years and have never been in a jail, been to a trial, or been convicted of any crime. I have lived in one house for 20 years, had unchanged phone numbers for 20 years, and had the same website for 20 years. I continue on, faithfully collecting, and unstopped in my research and integrity.

I work tirelessly and altruistically to aid other historians and researchers, without the acknowledgments normally given to paid-librarians. I am a responsible collector, paying generously and ethically for rare books, having them properly restored and conserved, and making my collection open to the public and viewable online. I am interested in faithfully preserving the cultural history of the early Mormons.

This is my home page dedicated to the acquisition and conservation of rare Mormon books, art, artifacts, graphic images, and autograph documents—particularly high-end items, those valued at $5,000 and up, made during the first 50 years of Mormonism (1830-1880). I built this site to discover more rarities with the help of people like you. Even though my collection has been featured in all of the principal Utah newspapers, referred to often by the Associated Press in articles appearing in 500 newspapers, and covered in USA Today and on CNN, few people know how to find me. I am hoping that this site will help.

John Hajicek

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley Mormon


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