Crosby-Schøyen Codex Sold for £3m


The Crosby-Schoyen Codex

Christie's' Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection sale began this afternoon from 2pm BST. The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, the oldest known book in private hands and one of the earliest books in existence sold for £3,065,000.

The Crosby-Schoyen Codex is written in Coptic on papyrus around 250-350AD at the point when papyrus scroll began morphing into codex format. Its 52 leaves/104 pages - preserved now behind plexiglass - were completed by a single scribe over 40 years in an Egyptian monastery and contain the first epistle of Peter and the Book of Jonah making it the earliest known surviving Christian liturgical book. 

It was first discoverd in the 1950s and has been owned by collector Martin Bodmer and the University of Mississippi before being acquired by manuscript collector Martin Schøyen in 1988. It is believed to be The the oldest known book that is privately owned.