He­brew texts sell for a record £10m at auc­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NAOMI FIRSHT

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.”

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