A stone tablet with the inscription of the Ten Commandments, believed to be about 1,500 years old, will be sold next month at an auction.
The white marble tablet measures two feet in length and weighs about 200 pounds. The stone is also thought to be the oldest existing inscription of the Ten Commandments, according to the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, aside from the original.
The opening bid is $250,000 for the stone. It is inscribed in Samaritan script with principles fundamental to Judaism and Christianity.
It is said to have been chiseled during the late Roman or Byzantine era between 300 and 500 AD. It marked the entrance of an ancient synagogue that was supposedly destroyed by the Romans, Heritage Auctions noted in a statement.
The stone was also reported to have been found in 1913 during an excavation for a railroad line in Israel, according to Rabbi Shaul Deutsch, founder of the living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York.
The museum contains a large collection of artifacts of Jewish life and history dating back to antiquity. They are selling the tablet in an effort to attract younger visitors.
"The sale will provide us with the money to do what we need to do. It's all for the best," Deutsch said in a statement.
The tablet was acquired in 1943 by an archeologist, who owned it until his death in 2000.
Deutsch acquired the tablet for a temporary period through an agreement with the Israel Antiquities Authority and then bought it after a legal settlement, Heritage Auction officials said.