According to the catalogue, the oldest and almost complete Hebrew Bible was auctioned off by a New York auction house for a record price of 38 million US dollars (the equivalent of around 35 million euros). The “Codex Sassoon” manuscript, created around the year 900 in the Israel/Syria area, was sold within five minutes at the auction broadcast live on the Internet by Sotheby’s. According to the New York Times, the ANU Museum of the Jewish People was awarded the contract.
One of the most expensive manuscripts
The manuscript thus remained in the lower range of the estimated price, which was set at between 30 and 50 million US dollars (28 to 46 million euros). Despite this, the codex is one of the most expensive manuscripts ever sold. The most valuable document auctioned to date is a first edition of the US Constitution at 43.2 million US dollars. The buyer of the printed work was the US billionaire and head of the investment company Citadel, Kenneth Griffin.
According to the auction house Sotheby’s, the 792-page codex weighs twelve kilograms. The manuscript is on parchment and written largely in Hebrew, but also contains ancient Greek and Aramaic passages. It comes from private ownership. The codex was named after the previous owner David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942). The Codex Sassoon was thought to have been lost for around 600 years before it turned up again in 1929.
Some pages are missing
The manuscript consists of 24 books of the Old Testament of the Bible. Despite the overall good condition, twelve pages are missing. The Hebrew Bible is one of the most influential books in human history and the foundation of Western civilization and a unique treasure, said auctioneer Benjamin Doller at the auction of the work.
haz/bru (dpa, epd, kna)