World’s oldest Hebrew Bible sold for $38.1m

The Codex Sassoon, a late ninth- or early 10th-century book, which Sotheby’s has dubbed the “earliest, most complete copy of the Hebrew Bible,” was sold for $38.1 million at an auction in New York City, on Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador to Romania Alfred Moses purchased the Codex Sassoon on behalf of the American Friends of ANU.

According to media outlets, the Hebrew Bible will be gifted to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.

Ahead of the auction, Sotheby’s estimated that the item would sell for anywhere from $30 million to $50 million.

The “gavel price” was $33.5 million, but with fees and premiums, the final price tag reached $38.1 million.

The earliest and most complete Hebrew Bible in existence, Codex Sassoon dates to the late ninth or early tenth century and provides critical insights into the history of Abrahamic civilisations, cultural influences and religious practices.

Codex Sassoon is a Masoretic codex comprising all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, dated to the 10th century. It is considered as old as the Aleppo Codex and a century older than the Leningrad Codex (1006), the earliest known complete Hebrew Bible manuscript.

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