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COLLECTING SINCE 1981, BUT HALF OF ALL NEW DISCOVERIES IN
MORMON HISTORY HAVE COME THROUGH MY HANDS SINCE 1991

Posted July 10, 2013

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, 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 this at an early age.  My family investigated Mormonism back in Minnesota between 1972 and 1978, eventually moving to a Mormon historic site in 1980 where I lived on a 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 people who instilled in me a love for their heritage.  In 1982 I bought my first Joseph Smith period Book of Mormon for $2,000 from bookstore in Salt Lake City.  In 1991 I preserved an old 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.  My homes in Wisconsin and Missouri allowed me to criss-cross Illinois a hundred times to stop in Nauvoo and Carthage, and appreciate the Illinois citizens view of Mormon history.  This Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri experience made me an expert on the divergent views of Mormonism and gives me a free-thinking perspective of Mormon history.

       
 

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 2013, 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 acquainted with Mormonism for 41 years, a student of Mormon history for 34 years, buying rare Mormon books for 31 years, had the world’s largest private collection for over 20 years, and have been buying books on this Mormonism.com site for 17 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 25 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.  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 first Mormon temples (Zion, Far West, Kirtland, and Nauvoo), Mormon scriptures and hymn books (1830-1871), Mormons in early news (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).

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

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