Sotheby’s Auction House has announced it will auction the Codex Sassoon, the earliest, most complete Hebrew Bible known, this coming May 16 at 10 am in New York.
The Codex Sassoon is more than a thousand years old, and dates to 9 CE, making it older than the Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex. It was carbon dated by the current owner, who Sotheby’s declined to name.
It is considered the most valuable historical document ever sold.
The codex was part of the famed collection of David Solomon Sassoon, (1880-1942), who assembled the largest and most important private collection of Hebrew manuscripts in the world and had a special affinity for Bibles in particular.
David Solomon Sassoon’s collection catalogue, Ohel Dawid, begins and ends with biblical material, and Codex Sassoon is its very last entry, giving pride of place to this monument of world civilization.
The collection was hailed by Cecil Roth in 1941 as “one of the most magnificent collections of Hebrew manuscripts in private hands in the world to-day.”
“It’s a vital touchstone of human history,” said Richard Austin, Sotheby’s global head of books and manuscripts.
Bids for the precious bible are expected to reach an estimated $30 million to $50 million.
In 2021, a first edition copy of the US Constitution was sold to billionaire Ken Griffin for $43.2 million.