The Book of Wealth is a much sought-after book written by Hubert Howe Bancroft, the first volume was published in 1896. The book details the wealth of historic figures and dynasties dating from ancient times up to 1896. It was written to be the companion book to The Book of the Fair and took about six years to complete.
Four hundred total copies were printed. There were 150 copies the first edition (called “Cygne Noir”, or “Black Swan”) and these sold for $2,500 (or about $89,000 in today’s dollars). Each copy of the first edition was signed by Mr. Bancroft. The second edition (called "Fin de Siècle", or "End of Century) consisted of 250 copies and sold for $1,000 (or about $33,000 today). Note that in my research I have also read reports that the second edition consisted of 950 copies, making the total copies in print to be 1000.
The books were printed in Chicago and were 17" x 22", bound in heavy golden silk, lined with white decorative fabric, and contain about 3,000 images consisting of original watercolors and engravings. The book also contained 100 paintings by popular artist such as Thomas Moran, G. H. McCord, W. Granville Smith, C. Y. Turner, C. A. Vanderhoff, E. Benvenuto. The cover of each section of the first edition displayed an original water-color by a well-known artist. The styling is very similar to The Book of the Fair, you can view The Book of the Fair here.
The books are divided into ten volumes (or sections), twenty-nine chapters, and contain a total of 1,000 pages. The book starts by detailing the nations of antiquity, starting with the oldest, and then moving to the next, and the next, until it finishes with the United States.
There are sites selling The Book of Wealth in PDF format for $25, $50, and even more (see: Sites Selling the Book). There is no need to pay to read a book that has long been out of copyright. You can read the book in its entirety on this site for FREE. I have been asked many times to make an eBook available and have decided to do so for $2.99. You can read more about the eBook and purchase it here.
Some sites that are selling the book claim that it holds the "secrets" to wealth and that by purchasing it, you too will know these "secrets". There are also "gurus" who rely heavily on this book as their source of "wisdom". Unless I'm missing something (and I'm not), these claims are false. The book contains no ancient secrets or advanced wisdom and will not guide you into riches. It is simply a history book and nothing more. Bancroft was a historian: he wrote history. If you want guidance on gaining riches, you would be better served by reading one or all of the following books: