A 700-year-old Torah scroll adorned with mystical kabbalist designs will be put up for sale by Sotheby's on November 24.
The scroll, which experts think is the oldest surviving Torah from the Golden Age of Spain, will be offered for purchase based on an appraised value of $300,000 to $500,000. It is one of several items of Judaica that will be on offer.
The scroll's importance was first identified by Rabbi Yitzchok Reisman, a New York-based scribe and dealer in manuscripts. Yitzhak Wiener, a former Israeli Judaica dealer who is involved in the sale, said the Torah's most recent owners did not appreciate its value.
"The scroll has been in Reisman's possession for about 10 years," Wiener said from New York. "It was in the home of a Moroccan family of Spanish origin that now is in Israel."
"Sometimes owners don't know the importance of what they have," he added. "But we who deal in Torah scrolls realized that it was very old ... After several years of research, including carbon-14 dating, [Reisman] determined how old it was."
Wiener said decoration featured on this Torah scroll is mentioned in several writings from Spain's Golden Age.
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