A 16th century copy of the Talmud sold Tuesday at auction for a staggering $9.3 million in New York. The sale sets a new global record for any Judaica item ever sold, Sothebys auction house announced.
The auctioned Babylonian Talmud, a collection of oral teachings of Jewish law and customs, is an extremely rare edition that auctioneers hoped would fetch between $5-7 million.
“The extraordinary volume was purchased by Stephan Loewentheil for the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop” located in New York, Sothebys stated.
The 16th century Talmud, a Bomberg Talmud edition, was part of a sale of Hebrew books and manuscripts of the Valmodanna Trust, one of the world’s most foremost collections. The total sale of items came to $14.9 million.
The Bomberg Talmud is named after Daniel Bomberg, a Christian from Venice who was the first person to print a full edition of the Babylonian Talmud between 1519 and 1523. The Babylonian Talmud has become one of the most important printed books in Hebrew and has impacted western civilization throughout history.
The particular book that sold at auction was preserved for several centuries in the library of Westminster Abbey in London. According to auctioneers, only 14 full Bomberg Talmuds remain in existence.