Home Corporate Events Ancient Hebrew Bible fetches $38.1 million at Sotheby’s Auction

Ancient Hebrew Bible fetches $38.1 million at Sotheby’s Auction

by Ikenna Ngere

After a five-minute bidding duel, a Hebrew Bible went for $38.1 million at Sotheby’s on Wednesday in New York.

That is the second-highest auction price ever paid for a piece of history.

The 26-pound volume, which has a 1,100-year history, sold for only £350 in 1929.

According to a statement released by Sotheby’s, the Codex Sassoon, a leather-bound, handwritten parchment volume containing almost the entire Hebrew Bible, was bought by the former American ambassador to Romania Alfred H. Moses on behalf of the American Friends of ANU and donated to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, where it will join the collection.

Prior to the auction, the text was on display at the ANU Museum in March as part of a global tour.

The $38 million price tag, which includes the auction house’s commission, according to Sotheby’s Judaica specialist Sharon Liberman Mintz, “reflects the profound power, influence, and significance of the Hebrew Bible, which is an indispensable pillar of humanity.”

One of the highest sums ever paid for a manuscript at auction. A pricey copy of the American constitution sold for $43 million in 2021.

The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci sold in 1994 for $31 million, or roughly $60 million in modern currency.

Mintz said she was “absolutely delighted by today’s monumental result and that Codex Sassoon will shortly be making its grand and permanent return to Israel, on display for the world to see.”

It is thought that the Codex Sassoon was made sometime between 880 and 960.

The son of an Iraqi Jewish businessman who filled his London home with his collection of Jewish texts, David Solomon Sassoon, bought it in 1929, giving it its name.

The biblical codex was sold by Sotheby’s in Zurich to the British Rail Pension Fund in 1978 for about $320,000, or $1.4 million in modern currency, after Sassoon’s estate was divided up.

The Codex Sassoon was purchased by the pension fund in 1989 for $3.19 million ($7.7 million in today’s money), and Jacqui Safra, a financier and art collector, purchased it eleven years later. Wednesday’s seller was Safra.

related posts

Leave a Comment