Israel’s “national treasure” has been sold to the highest bidder.
The world’s earliest-known complete stone inscription of the Ten Commandments sold at auction in Beverly Hills for $850,000 (R12.1 million).
Heritage Auctions said the two-foot square marble slab sold Wednesday night at a public auction of ancient Biblical archaeology artifacts.
The tablet weighs about 115 pounds and is inscribed in an early Hebrew script called Samaritan.
It likely adorned the entrance of a synagogue that was destroyed by the Romans between A.D. 400 and 600, or by the Crusaders in the 11th century, said David Michaels, Heritage Auctions director of ancient coins and antiquities.
The auction house said the Israeli Antiquities Authorities approved export of the piece to the United States in 2005. The only condition was that it must be displayed in a public museum.
The tablet was one of a number of Biblical artifacts owned by the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York, that were up for auction.
The auction opened with a $300,000 bid on the piece. The winning bidder does not wish to be identified.