The Codex Sassoon was purchased for one of the highest prices for a manuscript sold at auction. It is set to be displayed at the ANU Museum in Israel.
A leather-bound, handwritten Hebrew Bible believed to be around 1,100 years old sold for $38.1 million (€35.1 million) in New York, auction house Sotheby’s said on Wednesday. The Codex Sassoon’s price surpasses the $30.8 million paid in 1994 for Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester manuscript but is below the world-record $43.2 million paid in 2021 for a first edition of the US Constitution.
Its price tag “reflects the profound power, influence, and significance of the Hebrew Bible, which is an indispensable pillar of humanity,” said Sotheby’s Judaica specialist Sharon Liberman Mintz.
Mintz said she was “absolutely delighted by today’s monumental result and that Codex Sassoon will shortly be making its grand and permanent return to Israel, on display for the world to see.
“The Hebrew Bible is the most influential book in history and constitutes the bedrock of Western civilization. I rejoice in knowing that it belongs to the Jewish People,” said Moses.
Before the auction, which Sotheby’s said lasted for 4 minutes and was between two buyers, the manuscript was exhibited at the ANU Museum in March as part of a worldwide tour.