Following Kestenbaum & Company’s appraisal of the extraordinary $8.5 million Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica which was subsequently donated to the Penn University Libraries, the relationship between the New York based Judaica auction house and the Ivy League College was further cemented with a special event held at Kestenbaum’s Manhattan gallery on November 7th 2013. University of Pennsylvania alumni and members of Penn Libraries’ Orrery Society were invited to join Arthur Kiron, the Library’s Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica and Daniel Kestenbaum, Chairman of the auction house, for a behind-the-scenes look at the auctioning and acquisition of rare Judaica.
After a cocktail party featuring a preview of highlights from Kestenbaum’s auction of Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic Art & Ceremonial Objects which took place on November 14th, the guests sat down for a Q & A Session with Professor Kiron and Mr. Kestenbaum. What followed was a thought-provoking, rare insight into how the company was formed, what distinguishes Kestenbaum & Company as an auction house and what role the company plays in contemporary Jewish cultural life. Professor Kiron also shared with the audience how the auction house has been instrumental in helping build the Library’s rare Judaica Collections, which contribute to the foundation of Penn’s core mission of teaching and research. He also further elaborated on how the Library has utilized many of the nearly 175 items that they have purchased from Kestenbaum & Company through the years, noting that many of their students, faculty and fellows have all personally studied many of the acquisitions, while other acquired items were featured online, thereby reaching a more global audience by being viewed through Penn’s annual web exhibitions.
In all, it was an enlightening evening and a good time was had by all!!