Oldest Spanish Torah Scroll Sold
At Sotheby’s for about $400,000
The oldest surviving complete Torah scroll from pre-Inquisition Spain was sold at Sotheby’s yesterday to an unnamed American private collector for $398,500—not quite the half-million bucks the auction house gave as the high estimate, but impressive nonetheless. The 700-year-old scroll was put up for sale by Rabbi Yitzchok Reisman, a Torah scribe and repairman on New York’s Lower East Side who bought it for less than $40,000 a decade ago from a Moroccan family of Spanish origin now living in Israel. Not a bad return—and, as is its wont, Sotheby’s did the rabbi the favor of giving him a photograph of the scroll as a keepsake.
Torah Scroll, Kabbalistic Circle of Shem Tov Ben Abraham Ibn Gaon, Northern Spain [Sotheby’s]
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Colonial cantor Gershom Mendes Seixas was a George Washington favorite