World's Oldest Near-complete Hebrew Bible Sells for $38.1 Million

FILE - Sotheby's unveils the Codex Sassoon for auction, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - Sotheby's unveils the Codex Sassoon for auction, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
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World's Oldest Near-complete Hebrew Bible Sells for $38.1 Million

FILE - Sotheby's unveils the Codex Sassoon for auction, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
FILE - Sotheby's unveils the Codex Sassoon for auction, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in the Manhattan borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The world's oldest and most complete Hebrew Bible sold for $38.1 million om New York on Wednesday, Sotheby’s said, one of the highest prices ever for a book or document sold at auction.

Wednesday's winning bid for the Codex Sassoon was made via a donation by Alfred H. Moses, a former US ambassador and president of the American Jewish Committee, who is giving it to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The price surpasses the $30.8 million paid in 1994 for Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester manuscript, Sotheby's said. But it was below the estimated $50 million that Sotheby's said in February it could sell for and below the $43.2 million paid in 2021 for a first edition of the US Constitution, the world record for any book or document.

Sotheby's Judaica specialist Sharon Liberman Mintz said the price tag, which includes the auction house’s fee, "reflects the profound power, influence, and significance of the Hebrew Bible, which is an indispensable pillar of humanity.”

The Codex Sassoon, fabricated sometime between 880 and 960, is named after a previous owner, David Solomon Sassoon, who acquired the Bible in 1929 and assembled one of the most significant private collections of Judaica and Hebraica manuscripts of the 20th century.
The document offers a critical link bridging Jewish oral tradition to the modern Hebrew Bible. It was not until recently that former owner, collector Jacqui Safra, had the Codex Sassoon carbon dated, confirming it was older than the Aleppo Codex and the Leningrad Codex, two other major early Hebrew Bibles, according to Sotheby's.

The auctioneer said the Codex Sassoon had been dated to either the late 9th or early 10th century on
both scientific and paleographic grounds and contains almost the entirety of the Bible. The oldest copies of Biblical text ever found were the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in caves in 1947.

The Hebrew Bible contains 24 separate books organized into three parts — the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Writings. Starting with the book of Genesis and ending with Chronicles, the Hebrew Bible is foundational to Judaism, as well as Christianity and Islam.



Chicago's Iconic 'Bean' Sculpture Reopens to Tourists

Visitors take photos of the "Cloud Gate" sculpture, also known as the "bean," at Millennium Park, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Visitors take photos of the "Cloud Gate" sculpture, also known as the "bean," at Millennium Park, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
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Chicago's Iconic 'Bean' Sculpture Reopens to Tourists

Visitors take photos of the "Cloud Gate" sculpture, also known as the "bean," at Millennium Park, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
Visitors take photos of the "Cloud Gate" sculpture, also known as the "bean," at Millennium Park, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

One of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions known as “The Bean” reopened to the public Sunday after nearly a year of renovations and construction.
Construction started in August last year, and fencing around the iconic sculpture limited closeup access to visitors. The work on the plaza surrounding the sculpture included new stairs, accessible ramps and a waterproofing system, according to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
The bean-shaped sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor is formally known as “Cloud Gate” and weighs 110 tons (99.8 metric tons).
It’s a busy tourist hub near Michigan Avenue, particularly for selfies with its reflective surface inspired by liquid mercury. Views of skyscrapers and crowds are reflected on the Millenium Park sculpture.
“Visitors can once again have full access to Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor,” city officials said in a Sunday statement. “Come back and get your #selfie!”

One of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions known as “The Bean” reopened to the public Sunday after nearly a year of renovations and construction.
Construction started in August last year, and fencing around the iconic sculpture limited closeup access to visitors. The work on the plaza surrounding the sculpture included new stairs, accessible ramps and a waterproofing system, according to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
The bean-shaped sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor is formally known as “Cloud Gate” and weighs 110 tons (99.8 metric tons).
It’s a busy tourist hub near Michigan Avenue, particularly for selfies with its reflective surface inspired by liquid mercury. Views of skyscrapers and crowds are reflected on the Millenium Park sculpture.
“Visitors can once again have full access to Chicago’s iconic Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor,” city officials said in a Sunday statement. “Come back and get your #selfie!”