One of the World’s Oldest Books Will Be Offered for Sale at an Auction

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, considered one of the world’s oldest books, will be offered for sale at an upcoming auction organized by Christie’s. The Christian liturgical book, dated to the 3rd century AD, has an estimated price of between $2 million and $3 million.

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex is part of The Schøyen Collection, which is one of the largest and most important collections of manuscripts in existence. It was written in a Christian monastery in Egypt over a period of 40 years and contains 52 papyrus leaves, or 104 pages, of two-column text. 

The manuscript was written in Coptic using a modified form of the Greek alphabet and contains the earliest-known complete text of the Book of Jonah and the first epistle of Peter. It is kept in the form of single pages, which are protected by plexiglass.

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex was discovered in the 1950s as part of Bodmer Papyri, which contained early Christian texts. It was in the possession of the University of Mississippi until 1981, when it changed hands several times before being acquired by collector Martin Schøyen in 1988.

“It is one of the earliest examples of the book in the form that we still know it today, and as the earliest in private hands, it’s unlikely anything like this will ever come to auction again,” Eugenio Donadoni, senior specialist for books and manuscripts at Christie’s in London, told CNN.

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