Rare Codex Sassoon: The most complete and oldest Hebrew Bible, could fetch $50 million at auction

Image - Sotheby’s

Old is gold, or in the case of a Hebrew Bible that’s more than 1,000 years old, it is a whopping $50 million. Sotheby’s is putting on the auction block a ninth-century Codex Sassoon, which forms a critical link between the Dead Sea scrolls and today’s Bible. “It is a vital touchstone of human history,” said Richard Austin, Sotheby’s global head of books and manuscripts. The most valuable historical document or manuscript to ever appear at auction is estimated to fetch $30-$50 million. The Hebrew Bible contains all 24 books divided into three parts – the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings.

Image – Sotheby’s

Before being auctioned on 16 May 2023, Codex Sassoon will travel around the world from London on February 22- 28 to Tel Aviv, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York. “In Codex Sassoon, a monumental transformation in the history of the Hebrew Bible is revealed,” shared Sharon Liberman Mintz, a Senior Judaica Specialist in Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department. “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, and politics – for centuries,” she mentioned.

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Image – Sotheby’s

“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,” said Richard Austin, Sotheby’s Global Head of Books & Manuscripts. “With such eminence, the Codex has an incomparable presence and gravitas that can only be borne from more than one thousand years of history.” It would interest buyers in learning that despite being a 1000-year-old manuscript, Codex Sassoon is in excellent condition and older than the Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex, the other well-known early Hebrew Bibles.

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