NEW YORK (AP) -- Sotheby's auction house is offering what experts consider the world's most important private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts.
Vice chairman David Redden told The Associated Press on Thursday the "glory" of the New York auction is the first printing of the Talmud, from the 1520s in Venice.
The 11,000 items going on sale were collected by a London diamond dealer. They document life in the Jewish diaspora from Europe and Africa to Asia, spanning a millennium. Some items have burn or water marks or other signs of religious persecution such as censored passages.
A dozen treasures from the collection will go on the auction block Dec. 22, including a Hebrew Bible from 1189. Sotheby's says it's the only surviving dated Hebrew manuscript written before the Jews were expelled from England in 1290.