World’s oldest Hebrew Bible going up for auction, expected to sell for over $30 million

Thousand-year-old Hebrew Bible – the oldest known copy in existence – to go on display in Tel Aviv, before auction; expected price of at least $30 million.

By World Israel News Staff

The world’s oldest known copy of the Hebrew Bible could be yours – for as little as $30 million.

The Codex Sassoon, comprising all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, is believed to date back to between the late 9th or early 10th century of the Common Era, and takes its name from its former owner, David Solomon Sassoon, an Indian-born Iraqi-Jewish book collector who acquired it in 1929.

After Sassoon’s death in 1942, the codex was passed on within the family, until it was sold to the British Rail Pension Fund in 1978, and later to Jacqui Eli Safra, member of the Lebanese-Swiss Jewish Safra banking family.

Now, Safra is preparing to auction off the codex via Sotheby’s, with the sale scheduled for May 16th.

Since its discovery, the codex has only been publicly displayed once, in the British Museum in 1982.

Ahead of the auction, the codex will be put on display in five venues including New York City, Dallas, Los Angeles, London, and Tel Aviv.

The Tel Aviv showing will take place from March 23rd to the 29th at the ANU – Museum of the Jewish People.

Only the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few partial fragments of other texts are older than the Codex Sassoon – none of which contain a complete Hebrew Bible.

“An entire Hebrew Bible is relatively rare,” Bar Ilan University professor Yosef Ofer told Fortune, noting that there are only two other known Hebrew Bibles form the same era, both of which are more recent.