The Codex Sassoon was purchased at auction, after a bidding contest that lasted about ten minutes, by Alfred Moses, a lawyer who works at Covington & Burling and who was formerly the United States ambassador to Romania.
The Codex Sassoon, the oldest nearly complete Hebrew Bible dated to the 10th century, was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York for $38,126,000 (35,170,000 euros).
The priceless text was put up for sale by financier and collector Jacob (Jacqui) Safra, heir to a Syrian-Lebanese-Swiss banking fortune, which he had owned since 1989. This is the highest amount ever paid for a manuscript and exceeds the $30.8 million that Bill Gates paid for Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester in 1994. However, the amount is less than the record for an all-time historical document set by collector Ken Griffin in 2021, when he shelled out $43 million for an original printed copy of the United States Constitution.
The Codex Sassoon was purchased at auction, after a bidding contest that lasted about ten minutes, by Alfred Moses, a lawyer who works at Covington & Burling and who was formerly the United States ambassador to Romania during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Moses will donate the volume toAnu Museum – Museum of the Jewish People di Tel Aviv. “It was my mission to realize the historic significance of the Codex Sassoon and to ensure that it was kept in a place accessible to all,” Moses said in a statement. “The Hebrew Bible is the most influential book in history and forms the foundation of Western civilization. I rejoice in knowing that it belongs to the Jewish people,” the man said.
According to what Sotheby’s explained in a historical-philological file, the Codex Sasson would have been written by an unnamed scribe in Syria or in present-day Israel around 900 AD and takes its name from the businessman, philanthropist and collector of manuscripts Jewish David Solomon Sassoon, its former owner. Bible sold for record price includes all 24 books of the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Only fifteen chapters are missing from the 792 parchment pages.
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