“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
King James Version (KJV)
19:19 Curious arts - Magical arts, to which that soft appellation was given by those who practised them. Ephesus was peculiarly famous for these. And as these practices were of so much reputation there, it is no wonder the books which taught them should bear a great price. Bringing their books together - As it were by common consent, burnt them - Which was far better than selling them, even though the money had been given to the poor. Fifty thousand pieces of silver - If these pieces of silver be taken for Jewish shekels, the sum will amount to six thousand two hundred and fifty pounds.
Ac 19:19 Brought their books together, and burned them. There was real repentance, and they brought forth its fruits. These "books", alluded to by ancient writers, were manuscript volumes of charms, incantations, recipes for love philters, and other things of similar character. They counted the price of them. If the "piece of silver" is the Attic drachma or Roman denarius, as is probable (about sixteen cents), the whole value would be about $8,000. These "books" had considerable money value on account of their rarity.