expensive Koran-world record set by the oldest copy
[Oct 24] LONDON, UKó A Koran written in 1203, believed to
be the oldest known complete copy, has sold for $2.33 million at
The holy book, which had been estimated to sell for
up to $715,000, fetched $2,327,300 at Tuesday's auction in London,
Christie's said. Photo:
photo released by Christie's auctioneers of a 13th century
Quran which has sold for a world record at the London auction house
Tuesday Oct. 23, 2007.
The religious artefact went under the hammer for 1,140,500
pounds ($US 2,321,770) - the highest amount paid for an Islamic
holy book. Written in 1203, the tome is the earliest-known complete,
dated Quran, transcribed in gold and was part of a sale of art from
the Islamic and Indian World. (AP Photo / Christie's)
That was a record auction price for a Koran or any
type of Islamic manuscript, the auctioneer Christie's said.
The Koran was dated June 1203 (17 Ramadan 599)
and was signed by Yahya bin Muhammad ibn 'Umar.
A nearly complete, 10th-century Kufic Koran, thought
to be from North Africa or the near East, sold $1,870,000.
Both were offered for sale by the Hispanic Society
of America, and were purchased by trade buyers in London, Christie's
The record-setting Koran was signed by Yahya bin Muhammad
ibn 'Umar, dated 17 Ramadan 599 (June 1203). It was acquired in
Cairo in 1905 by Archer Milton Huntington, who founded the Hispanic
Society in New York City in 1904. Huntington, the adopted son of
railroad and ship-building magnate Collis P. Huntington, died in
The calligraphy in the manuscript was done in gold
outlined in thin black lines, and the marginal notes are in silver
outlined in red. The kufic Koran bridges a gap between the earlier
style, copied on parchment of horizontal format, and the later style
of vertical composition, often on paper, Christie's catalog said.
The kufic script takes its name from Kufah in Iraq,
an early center of Islamic scholarship, according to the British
Because the script's vertical strokes were very short
but the horizontal strokes elongated, it was written on papers in
a landscape format.