550-year-old Jewish holy book Mishneh Torah - which was expected to make $5m at auction - bought by museums in New York and Jerusalem
Collection of Jewish artefacts being sold off by hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt
A 550-year-old Jewish holy book expected to reach around $5 million at auction has been bought in a private sale by two museums in Jerusalem and New York.
The copy of the Mishneh Torah, from Italy around 1457, is an early copy of the code of Jewish law assembled by Maimonides.
On the morning of the planned auction at Sotheby's in New York, The Israel Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced its joint acquisition.
Sotheby's declined to say how much the lot fetched, beyond that it was more than the $2.9 million (£1.8 million) paid for a Hebrew Bible in 1989 at Sotheby's London, which set an auction record for a Jewish artefect.
The book had an estimate of $4.5 million to $6 million (£2.8 million to £3.9 million) before auction, and was part of a collection of Jewish artefacts, or Judaica, expected to reach $11 million (£7 million) at Sotheby's. The collection belongs to philanthropist and former hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and his wife, Judy.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, said: “We are pleased and proud to collaborate with the Israel Museum on acquiring such a rare and important manuscript for both of our institutions. The Mishneh Torah is a justly celebrated work that attests to the refined aesthetic sensibility of members of Italy’s Jewish community as well as to the opulence of North Italian book decoration in the 15th century."
And Mr Steinhardt, 72, said: “We could not be happier that this rare and remarkable manuscript will be in the care of the Israel Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in perpetuity.
"One of the world’s most significant Hebrew manuscripts, the Mishneh Torah will add important new dimensions to both collections - and its shared homes in New York and Jerusalem will ensure the broadest public engagement with the work. Judy and I are also delighted for our role within the group of donors who are making this key acquisition possible.”
The 385 other lots cover seven centuries of Jewish culture and come from around the world. Many items are estimated at less than $10,000.
In the press release, Sotheby’s calls the sale “the most significant collection of Judaica to be offered at auction in half a century.”
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Comfortable in their own skin
- 3 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 125 after overnight raids as Operation Protective Edge continues
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...