New Delhi (EMS). A 1,100-year-old Hebrew Bible has sold for $38 million in New York. Purchased by Alfred H. Moses, former United States Ambassador to Romania. This is the Codex Sassoon, a leather-bound, handwritten parchment volume containing almost the entire Hebrew Bible.
Auction house Sotheby’s said in a statement that Moses acquired the ancient text on behalf of the American Friends of ANU – the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, where it will be included in the museum. Sotheby’s Judaica expert Sharon Lieberman Mintz said the $38 million price tag, which includes the auction house’s fee, reflects the profound power, influence and importance of the Hebrew Bible, an essential pillar of humanity. This is one of the highest prices for any 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 sold for $31 million in 1994. That would be about $60 million in today’s dollars. Lieberman Mintz said that he is absolutely delighted 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 sometime between 880 and 960. It got its name in 1929, when it was bought by David Solomon Sassoon, the son of an Iraqi Jewish businessman who filled his London home with a collection of Jewish manuscripts.
The pension fund sold the Codex Sassoon 11 years later to Jacqui Safra, a banker and art collector. Who bought it in 1989 for $31.9 million (about $77 million today). Sassoon’s estate was divided after his death. In 1978, the Bible Codex was sold by Sotheby’s in Zurich to the British Rail Pension Fund for approximately $320,000, or $11 million in today’s dollars.
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