Hebrew texts sell for a record £10m at auction
HEBREW MANUSCRIPTS collected by a London diamond merchant have been sold for a record sum of almost £10 million.
Items from the Valmadonna Trust Library were auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York, fetching a total of $14.9 million, (just over £10 million), the highest amount ever paid for any kind of Judaica.
The centrepiece of the sale was a 16th century Babylonian Talmud, produced by the renowned printer Daniel Bomberg. It was sold for $9.3 million (over £6 million) to a rare-bookseller.
Other lots included a 12th century Hebrew Bible printed in Britain which fetched $3.6 million.
Described by Sotheby’s as “the finest private collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world”, the Valmadonna Trust Library consists of more than 11,000 works and was put together by Jack Lunzer over more than six decades.
He obtained the Bomberg Talmud in 1980 after he discovered it had been misidentified in an exhibition of texts at Westminster Abbey.
Although Mr Lunzer, now in his 90s, had previously expressed his wish to keep the collection intact, his daughter Myra Waiman said the family were pleased with the sale.
Ms Waiman said: “We are delighted that the Talmud’s gone to a new home — it’s gone to a good home.”