The Ten Commandments now has a tentative price tag: $250,000.
That is the initial bidding price set for a remarkable piece of biblical history, the world's earliest-known stone inscription of the 10 Commandments, that will go to the highest bidder when it is auctioned in Beverly Hills, California on Nov. 16. The object is also considered a "national treasure" of Israel
The ancient square, white marble stone—weighing roughly 115 lbs. and inscribed with 20 lines of Paleo-Hebrew text—was believed to have been carved sometime between 300 and 500 CE, Fox News reported. It was assumed to be from a synagogue that was either destroyed by Romans between 400 and 600 CE or by 11th-century Crusaders.
Only nine of the 10 commonly-known Commandments from the book of Exodus are included in the stone, according to Heritage Auctions.
The stone was believed to have been found in 1913 during an excavation for a railroad line in Israel, said Rabbi Shaul Deutsch, founder of the living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York.
It does not include the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Instead, it includes a Samaritan commandment that tells worshippers to "raise up a temple" on Mount Gerizim, known as the holy mountain for the Samaritans.
Its first known private owner reportedly used the stone as flooring for his courtyard. Over time, portions of the tablet's writing were erased as a result of being walked upon by people.
In 1943, a man named Y. Kaplan acquired the stone. It later fell into the hands of Robert Deutsch, an antiquities dealer, who purchased it.
In promoting the upcoming auction, David Michaels, director of Antiquities for Heritage Auctions, said, "There is nothing more fundamental to our shared heritage than the 10 Commandments," according to Art Daily.
Heritage Auctions requires bidders to agree to place the object on public exhibition, as stipulated by the Israel Antiquities Authority.