World’s Oldest Hebrew Bible Sold For $38.1M in Auction Sale

(Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

At 1100 years old, the mostly intact Hebrew Bible sold for a whopping $38.1 million at the Sotheby’s auction sale. That price tag and the implications of the text has earned this historic book the number one spot as the most valuable manuscript ever to be sold at auction, according to the New York Post.

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The manuscript is now called the Codex Sassoon after being purchased previously by the prominent manuscript collector David Solomon Sassoon in 1929. The Codex Sassoon Bible includes all 24 of the Old Testament or the entirety of the Hebrew Bible. It is only missing 12 pages, mostly a few chapters from Genesis. Other than that it is in pretty good condition seeing as it was made somewhere around the year 900 A.D.

World’s Oldest Hebrew Bible Sold For $38.1M in Auction Sale

Since its creation, the old Bible has switched hands several times. According to the New York Times, the first time the Bible was sold was in the year 1000 A.D. by a businessman named Khalaf ben Abraham to Isaac ben Ezekiel el-Attar, and was passed on from there to family. 200 years later it made a stop at a synagogue in Syria. From there it is unknown how the text traveled around but it ended up with Sassoon in 1929.

Now who would spend the extra change to acquire such a piece? The ANU – Museum of the Jewish People was the buyer. An American lawyer, who had previously been an ambassador to Romania was the individual who footed the bill, however. The lawyer’s name is Alfred Moses. Moses commented on the Hebrew Bible saying: “The Hebrew Bible is the most influential in history and constitutes the bedrock of Western civilization.” He added that he was overjoyed to see the Codex Sassoon returned to Israel once again.

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