The Valmadonna copy of the Bomberg Talmud is up for auction at Sotheby's.
It will lead the sale of the Valmadonna Trust Library, accumulated by diamond merchant Jack Lunzer, in New York on December 22.
The book is not just the finest known copy of the 16th century Jewish text, it's also a key artefact in the history of Western printing.
Bomberg was a Christian printer based in Venice who set the framework for the way the Talmud would be printed from the early 1500s onward.
He developed a new typeface, which came to be known as the Bomberg type, and developed the distinctive layout that remains in use today.
Sotheby's comments: "In terms of importance, rarity, and condition, the Valmadonna copy of Daniel Bomberg's Babylonian Talmud is virtually without peer.
"If the first half of the sixteenth century is the 'Golden Age' of Hebrew printing, then the Bomberg Talmud is undoubtedly the pinnacle achievement of the period."
It's expected to sell for $5m-7m.
A 12th century Hebrew Bible printed in England in 1189 is expected to make $2m-4m.
Only a few months after the book was printed a series of massacres took place against the Jews in London. The lot is the oldest known Targum (meaning "translated into Aramaic") printing of the text in Europe.
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