The Rare Crosby-Schøyen Codex Sells for $3.9 Million in Auction of Ancient Manuscripts

In auction, the oldest book in the world sold for $3.9 million

In the world of ancient manuscripts, a 1,700-year-old book from Egypt has recently sold at an auction for $3.9 million, surpassing its expected price range of $2.6 million to $3.8 million. The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, written in Coptic and dating back to 250–350 AD, is considered one of the oldest pieces of evidence of a book as we know it today, with a historical significance that cannot be overstated.

The codex was auctioned as part of the “manuscript masterpieces” in the Schøyen Collection, which is renowned for its size and comprehensiveness. It is one of the largest collections of manuscripts ever assembled by Christie’s and was a testament to the enduring value and significance of ancient texts.

Eugenio Donadoni, Christie’s senior specialist in Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, explained that the Crosby-Schøyen Codex is “of monumental importance as a witness to the earliest spread of Christianity around the Mediterranean.” The papyrus has survived well due to Egypt’s dry climate and is currently one of the world’s oldest books in private ownership.

Discovered in the 1950s, this codex has changed hands multiple times before finally being acquired by Norwegian collector Martin Schøyen. It is well-known for containing texts such as the Old Testament Book of Jonah and First Epistle of Peter, which are still read during Easter services today. Its journey from discovery to auction demonstrates how valuable and significant ancient manuscripts can be.

Overall, this sale highlights not only the enduring value and significance of ancient texts but also how they continue to shape our understanding of history today.

In the world of ancient manuscripts, a 1,700-year-old book from Egypt has recently sold at an auction for $3.9 million, surpassing its expected price range of $2.6 million to $3.8 million. The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, written in Coptic and dating back to 250–350 AD, is considered one of the oldest pieces of evidence of a book…

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