Forbes Mar 19, 2023
The Codex Sassoon, a 10th century Hebrew Bible, goes up for sale at Sotheby’s in May and could become the most valuable book ever sold at auction.
“It’s one of the world’s greatest treasures.” Sharon Liberman Mintz, a senior Judaica specialist at Sotheby’s, says of the Codex Sassoon, which goes up for auction in May. But for now, the thousand-year-old Hebrew Bible is stored in what looks like a supersized shoebox stuffed with paper, on a crowded table in a nondescript room at the auction house’s New York headquarters. Hardly a glamorous setting for one of the most valuable books in the world.
It’s not until Liberman Mintz and a colleague lift it—as gingerly as one can raise a 26-pound, six-inch thick stack of centuries-old parchment—that the true heft of the Codex apparent.
Already boasting the highest pre-auction estimate of a book or manuscript ($30 million to $50 million), the Codex Sassoon could become the most expensive book or manuscript ever sold at auction when it hits the block this spring. That title is currently held by a first edition of the United States Constitution that sold for $43.2 million in 2021 to billionaire Ken Griffin.
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