World’s Oldest Hebrew Bible Could Become Most Expensive Historical Document Ever Sold

Hebrew Bible that is over a thousand years old is on track to break records when it goes up for auction this spring, Sotheby’s, the group auctioning it off, On Wednesday

According to them, the Bible could fetch $30-50 million. It would be the most valuable historical document or manuscript ever sold at auction if it brought in $50 million. It is known as the Codex Sassoon. It includes of 400 pages of parchment sheets — including all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible. Sotheby’s notes that it is Missing 12 leaves. The first ten chapters of Genesis are missing from some pages. According The New York Times

“The biblical text in book format marks a critical turning point in how we perceive the history of the Divine word across thousands of years and is a transformative witness to how the Hebrew Bible has influenced the pillars of civilization – art, culture, law, politics – for centuries,” Sharon Mintz, Sotheby’s senior Judaica specialist, said.

Most likely dating back to the 9th century. The Bible contains notes that include deeds. It was later dedicated to a northeast Syrian Synagogue. The synagogue was destroyed by either the Mongol Empire, or the Timurid Empire sometime between the 13th-14th centuries. Sotheby’s says it was potentially rebound for the first time while there. Salama ibn Abi al-Fakhr, who was entrusted the Bible, was supposed to return it after the synagogue was rebuilt. The auction house notes that it is still being reconstructed.

The Bible was largely hidden from public view for 600 years until 1929 when it was purchased by David Solomon Sassoon, a collector. It has been in private collections since then. The most recent owner was a Swiss financier. Its name comes from Sassoon the Bible. Weights 26 lbs, 12 by 14 inches and bound in brown leather. “Codex” It refers to a manuscript that has been translated into book form. Mintz explained to the Times that the Bible, even at its time, was costly and required the skins from over 100 animals.

Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

“Codex Sassoon has long held a revered and fabled place in the pantheon of surviving historic documents and is undeniably one of the most important and singular texts in human history,” Richard Austin, Sotheby’s global head of books and manuscripts, says. “With such eminence, the Codex has an incomparable presence and gravitas that can only be borne from more than one thousand years of history.”

Carbon dating indicates that the Codex Sassoon dates back to the 9th Century. This makes it older than the Aleppo Codex or the Leningrad Codex which are two well-known historical Hebrew Bibles. According CNBC. Sotheby’s says that “the Codex provides a crucial bridge from the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls to the Bible of today.” The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the oldest copies available of biblical text. Discovered Caves were discovered in 1947 and date back to the third-century B.C. up to the first century A.D. 

The Current Record-holder is a copy of the U.S. Constitution in its first edition that Ken Griffin, a hedge fund manager, purchased for $43.2million in 2021. The Codex Sassoon will be on display starting next week at Sotheby’s in London, and will subsequently Start It will be on a worldwide tour that stops in Tel Aviv and New York City. It will go up for auction on May 16th. Mintz Telled CNN “this is the most important document to come to auction ever.”


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