Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Auction results

I've been curious to see how my perception of a manuscript's importance compares to the price it brings at auction. Now I'm watching the results of the Sotheby's auction I mentioned recently.

The Yemenite Torah scroll, the earliest of its kind, went for $193,000. A medieval Spanish humash, which sounds nice but not unique, surpassed that at $217,000.

The Samaritan manuscript, which contains two Arabic sermons and can be dated to the early 14th century, started out with a low appraisal of $5000. I had a feeling it would go higher, with people jumping at the bargain, and indeed it was sold at a final price of $25,000. It is a very small manuscript, only two quires.

Sefatayim Yishak, a printed page from the Emden-Eybeshuetz affair, was bought for $16,250, well above the expected price. Controversy sells.


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