Biography of Moses Shapira

Moses Shapira (1830-1884) was a Jerusalem antiquities dealer and purveyor of allegedly forged Biblical artifacts – the most high profile of which was the Shapira Scroll. The shame brought about by accusations that he was involved in the forging of ancient biblical texts drove him to suicide.

“After one lucrative deal in which he sold 1,700 fake figurines to a Berlin museum, Shapira was able to move outside the old city walls of Jerusalem with his family into an elegant villa on what is today Rav Kook Street, today known as Beit Ticho (Ticho House.)”

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1830 – He is born in Kamenets-Podolski.

1856 – He follows his father to the Holy Land.

1869 – He opens a store and sells the usual religious souvenirs enjoyed by pilgrims, as well as ancient pots he acquired from Arab farmers.

1873 – The Berlin’s Altes Museum buys 1,700 artifacts from Shapira for the cost of 22,000 thalers.

1883 – He presents his Shapira Strips.

1884 – He dies in Rotterdam.

1889 – His Strips are probably destroyed in a fire at the house of the presumed final owner, Sir Charles Nicholson.

“The Shapira Strips disappeared and then reappeared a couple of years later in a Sotheby’s auction, where they were sold for 10 guineas. In 1899 they were probably destroyed in a fire at the house of the presumed final owner, Sir Charles Nicholson.”

Allegedly, his shop where he made his fakes has been found.

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