April 2014 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Million-Dollar Torah Goes to Auction

Christies Torah.jpgOn Wednesday of this week, Christie's Paris hopes to surpass the $1-million mark for the newly discovered, complete, and large copy of a rare Hebrew Torah, printed in Italy in 1482. It is thought to be the first printed edition of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, in Hebrew. It is the first Hebrew book with printed vowels and cantillation signs, and the auction house refers to the incunable as "arguably the most important book in the history of Hebrew printing and publishing."

Including this example, only 28 copies of the vellum edition are known (some incomplete), plus an additional 11 on paper (mostly incomplete), making it, as our friend at Booktryst points out, "rarer than copies of the Gutenberg Bible."

The auction estimate is $1.4-2 million.

Image Courtesy of Christie's.