The owner of two hotels in Co Kerry has sold one of the most influential books in history for $38.1 million at a recent auction, thought to be one of the highest prices ever paid for a historical document. 

Jacqui Safra, a Swiss-Lebanese investor who co-owns the Parknasilla Hotel and Rossdohan Island in Co Kerry, sold the Codex Sassoon at Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday, May 17.

Though primarily based in Switzerland, Safra spends a few weeks in Co Kerry every year where he is known to keep a very low profile, according to the Irish Times. He had owned the Codex Sassoon since 1989.

The Codex Sassoon, which is the oldest complete Hebrew Bible, dates back to the 9th or 10th century. It includes all 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, minus about eight leaves, and features the first 10 chapters of Genesis. 

Sotheby's Auction House described the book as a "foundational cornerstone to civilizations and communities around the globe," adding that it is arguably the most influential book in human history. 

It is composed of 24 books divided into three parts and is regarded as the foundation for Judaism and other Abrahamic faiths, including Christianity. 

The codex takes its name from its most prominent owner, David Solomon Sassoon, who assembled the "most significant private collection of Judaica and Hebraica manuscripts in the world," according to Sotheby's.

The Codex Sassoon dates back to the same period as the Aleppo Codex, which is currently housed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. However, Sotheby's said the Codex Sassoon is "significantly more complete" because two-fifths of the Aleppo Codex was lost in the 1940s. 

It took more than 100 animal skins and 400 parchment leaves to complete the historic book, which was written by a single scribe. 

Sotheby's announced that American Friends of ANU — Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv, Israel bought the historic book at the recent auction with the help of a donation from Alfred Moses, a former US ambassador to Romania. 

The book will now be part of the museum's core exhibition. 

"The Hebrew Bible is the most influential in history and constitutes the bedrock of western Civilization," Moses said in a statement. 

"I rejoice in knowing that it belongs to the Jewish people. It was my mission, realizing the historic significance of Codex Sassoon, to see it reside in a place with global access to all people."