Heritage Auctions of Dallas announced that auctioned the earliest Ten Commandments stone tablet in existence as part of a sale of properties of the Living Torah Museum of Brooklyn.
The two hundred pound white marble stone sold at auction in Beverly Hills for $850,000.
Heritage Auctions said the two-foot square marble slab sold Wednesday night at a public auction of ancient Biblical archaeology artifacts.
Dating to the fourth century C.E., the artifact is actually a heretical Samaritan version of the Ten Commandments, as it adds an extra exhortation to raise a temple on Har Gerizim.
“Heritage Auctions is honored and privileged to be entrusted with the sale of this remarkable piece of biblical history,” said company director David Michaels. “We thank the Living Torah Museum and its creator, Rabbi Saul Deutsch, for this opportunity.”
Heritage Auctions noted that prospective buyers had to agree to place the object on public exhibition as per stipulation of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which designated the piece a “National Treasure” of Israel.
Four similar tablets exist in fragmentary form. Based on the letter forms, scholars date the stone under auction circa 300-500 C.E. The one under auction was rediscovered in 1913 during excavations for a railroad station near Yavneh and bought by an Arab who set it in the floor of his courtyard where letters at the center of the slab wore out.
The Living Torah Museum is auctioning at least fifty other artifacts including a nine-spouted ceramic oil lamp from the first century C.E. which some experts regard as the earliest known Chanukah menorah.