PHOTOS: 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible sold for $38 million, will now be kept in the Israel Museum
Hebrew Bible: A 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible, one of the world’s oldest biblical manuscripts, sold for $38 million in New York on Wednesday. The Codex Sassoon, a leather-bound manuscript parchment volume containing almost the entire Hebrew Bible, was purchased by Alfred H. Moses, the former United States Ambassador to Romania.
Auction house Sotheby’s said in a statement that Moses acquired the ancient text on behalf of American Friends of ANU – the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, where it will be included in the museum. (AP picture)
Sotheby’s Judaica expert Sharon Lieberman Mintz said the $38 million prize, which includes auction house fees, “demonstrates the profound power, influence and importance of the Bible Hebrew, an essential pillar of humanity”. (AP picture)
This is one of the highest prices for a manuscript ever sold at auction. In 2021, a rare copy of the US Constitution was sold for $43 million. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester was sold in 1994 for $31 million. That would equate to about $60 million in today’s dollars. (AP picture)
Lieberman Mintz said he was absolutely thrilled with today’s monumental result and that Codex Sassoon will soon make its grand and permanent return to Israel for the world to see. The Codex Sassoon is believed to have been composed between 880 and 960. (AP Photo)
It received its name in 1929, when it was purchased by David Solomon Sassoon, the son of an Iraqi Jewish businessman, who filled his London home with a collection of Jewish manuscripts. Sassoon’s ownership was divided after his death. (AP picture)
In 1978, the Bible Codex was sold by Sotheby’s in Zurich to the British Rail Pension Fund for around $320,000, or $11 million in today’s dollars. The pension fund sold Codex Sassoon after 11 years to Jacqui Safra, a banker and art collector. Who bought it in 1989 for $31.9 million (compared to $77 million today). (PhotoAFP)