Talmud study (illustration)
Talmud study (illustration)Nati Shohat/Flash90

A 16th-century copy of the Talmud sold at auction Tuesday for $9.3 million in New York, a global record for any piece of Judaica, auctioneers Sothebys announced.

The extremely rare Babylonian Talmud had been expected to fetch between five and seven million dollars.

"The extraordinary volume was purchased by Stephan Loewentheil for the 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop" in New York, the auctioneers said.

The so-called Bomberg Talmud led a sale of items from the Valmadonna Trust, the world's foremost collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts, which totaled $14.9 million.

The precious volume had been preserved for centuries in the library of Westminster Abbey in London.

The Talmud is a central work of the Oral Torah, teaching Jewish law.

Daniel Bomberg was the first to print a full edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1519-1523), which is widely regarded as one of the most important printed books in Hebrew.

Only 14 full Bomberg Talmuds printed in the 16th century remain in existence.

AFP contributed to this report.