• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Rare 1,700-Year-Old Crosby-Schøyen Codex Sold at Auction for $3.9 Million, Documenting Early Christianity’s Spread Around the Mediterranean

BySamantha Jones

Jun 12, 2024
$3.9 million bid wins world’s oldest book at auction

The 1,700-year-old Crosby-Schøyen Codex recently sold at auction for $3.9 million, surpassing expectations of $2.6 million to $3.8 million. This 104-page book, written in Coptic, dates back to 250–350 AD, representing an important era in early Christianity and serving as one of the oldest examples of a book as we understand it today.

For four decades, a single scribe meticulously transcribed the entire codex onto 52 leaves. The manuscript is part of the “manuscript masterpieces” in the Schøyen Collection, which Christie’s describes as “one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of manuscripts ever assembled.”

Eugenio Donadoni, Christie’s senior specialist in Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, emphasized the monumental importance of the codex in documenting the early spread of Christianity around the Mediterranean. The Crosby-Schøyen Codex is considered a vital witness to the earliest Easter celebrations and the practices of the earliest monks in Upper Egypt, occurring just a few centuries after the time of Christ and shortly following the composition of the last Gospel.

The ancient document has been remarkably preserved due to Egypt’s arid climate, making it one of the world’s oldest privately owned books. Discovered in

By Samantha Jones

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