One of Africa’s oldest books has been put up for auction

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London will play host to the auctioning of a very precious Egyptian artifact in June. The Egyptian antique in question is said to be one of the oldest books in the world, containing a couple of the earliest known texts of two books of the Bible. The book’s estimated value range from $2.6 million to $3.8 million, and is currently on display in New York.

  • A rare Egyptian codex, possibly one of the oldest books worldwide, is up for auction.
  • The book contains early texts of two books from the Bible, dating back to 250-350 AD.
  • Its estimated value ranges from $2.6 million to $3.8 million.

A report by the American news agency Reuters revealed that one of the most ancient books in existence will be put on auction mid-way into the year. The book was written at the dawn of Christianity in Coptic on papyrus around 250-350 AD and was compiled in one of the religion’s first monasteries.

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The codex is on display at Christie’s New York from April 2 to April 9 and will be auctioned in London on June 11.

“It’s right at that period, that transitional period when papyrus scroll starts turning into codex form,” said Eugenio Donadoni, Christie’s Senior Specialist, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.

“So, books as we know them today. And what we have in this book is the earliest known texts of two books of the Bible,” he added.

As seen in the report, according to Christie’s, the book “The Crosby-Schoyen Codex” has an estimated sale value of $2.6 million to $3.8 million.

The book which contains 104 pages (52 leaves) was drafted by a single scribe over 40 years at a monastery in upper Egypt. The codex contains Peter’s first epistle and the Book of Jonah.

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The Christie’s Senior Specialist credited its preservation to Egypt’s dry atmosphere, noting that just a few volumes from the third and fourth centuries have survived this whole time.

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“All the major finds of Christian manuscripts that we had in the 20th century and at the end of the 19th century are all concentrated in Egypt for those very precise climactic conditions,” he pointed out.

The codex was discovered in Egypt in the 1950s and then acquired by the University of Mississippi, where it resided until 1981. Dr. Martin Schoyen, a Norwegian manuscript collector, bought it in 1988 and is currently auctioning it off alongside other highlights from his Shoyen Collection, one of the world’s greatest private manuscript collections.

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