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1482 Torah Sold for Record $3.87 Million

The 15th-century chumash is most expensive Hebrew book ever sold

Hannah Dreyfus
May 02, 2014

Torah going once, Torah going twice, Torah sold–for $3.87 million.

At an auction in Paris this past Wednesday, a chumash from 1482 broke the record for the most expensive Hebrew-language book ever sold, JTA reports. Other Hebrew antiquities have been sold for impressive sums, including the 15th-century Jewish High Holidays prayer book that sold for $2.41 million in 2012, but the 15th-century Torah surpasses all other sales by a wide margin.

According to Christie’s, who organized the auction, the age-old book was produced in Bologna. It was printed on vellum, has no modifications, and is “in exceptionally fresh condition,” the auction house reported. Signatures at the back of the copy testify to its age: three 16th and 17th-century censors declare that the scroll was in an Italian library until at least the mid-17th century.

“The volume represents the very first appearance in print of all five books of the Pentateuch as well as the first to which vocalization and cantillation marks have been added,” the Christie’s listing said.

Hannah Dreyfus is an editorial intern at Tablet.