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The oldest, near-complete Bible sells for a record $38 million

The Codex Sassoon Bible is donated to the ANU museum and will become part of the permanent exhibition

The Codex Sassoon at Tel Aviv's Anu Museum (Photo courtesy Anu)

The Codex Sassoon, an 1,100-year-old nearly complete Bible, was sold for a record $38 million at the Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Wednesday.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Alfred H. Moses purchased the Codex Sassoon and reportedly donated the ancient book to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, where it will become a central piece in the museum’s core exhibition.

The leather-bound, handwritten parchment volume, the oldest known Bible in existence, is now considered one of the most expensive books ever sold at an auction.

The unique Bible is named after David Solomon Sassoon, a book collector who acquired the book for 350 British pounds (less than $450) in 1929.

The handwritten document consists of 792 pages made from sheepskin and includes all books of the Hebrew Bible, with a mere eight pages missing in total.

The seller, Swiss collector Jacqui Safra, had reportedly owned the precious book since 1989.

The buyer stressed the importance of the ancient bible.

“The Hebrew Bible is the most influential book in history and constitutes the bedrock of Western civilization. I rejoice in knowing it belongs to the Jewish people,” said Moses.

Putting the rare Bible on display in Tel Aviv would make it accessible for people from all over the world, he added.

“It was my mission, realizing the historic significance of Codex Sassoon, to see that it resides in a place with global access to all people.”

The Codex Sassoon Bible was briefly displayed at the ANU museum in March and will now become part of the permanent exhibition.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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