Kestenbaum & Company’s sale of Fine Judaica on January 27th offered an extensive selection of Early Printed & Hebrew Illustrated Books, Manuscripts and Works of Graphic Art including Photography and Posters.
A handsome first edition of the celebrated prayer-book Sha’ar Hashamayim with a Kabbalistic commentary by the Holy SheLa”H, Amsterdam, 1717 was the top lot in the Printed Books Section selling for $17,250 against estimate of $10,000-15,000. Other good sellers were a first edition of Samuel ben Isaac Aripol’s Sar Shalom (commentary to Shir Hashirim), Safed, 1579 that realized $12,650 and a rare pamphlet of American Judaica, Constitutions and By-Laws of the Beneficial Hebrew Society of the City of Philadelphia, 1844 that was bought for $8,338, far surpassing its estimate of $2,000-3,000.
Of particular note in the Illustrated Books Section was Bernard Picart’s Historie Generale de Ceremonies, Moeurs, et Coutumes Religieuses de tous les Peuples du Monde, Amsterdam, 1733-46, which included an invaluable pictorial record of Jewish life in 18th century Holland. This striking 10-volume set sold for $8,050.
In the Manuscripts Section, former Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s “The Revolt”, a typewritten early draft of his autobiography with Begin’s comprehensive corrections, which was offered with a correspondence to the publisher, found favor with buyers, garnering $7,475. An autographed letter by Theodor Herzl realized $2,760 and an 18th-19th century manuscript by R. Ephraim Zalman Margolioth & Others dealing with Halacha and Ethics brought in $6,038 against an estimate of $800-1,200.
Making an impression on buyers in the Graphic Arts section was the catalogue cover lot, Alphonse Levy’s colored stone lithograph, Exposition d’Oeuvres d’Alphonse Levy, Paris, 1897 which made $3,450, two portraits of Shalom-Aleichem, the famed Yiddish author and humorist which brought in $1,495 against an estimate of $400-600, and a silver gelatin print by Berenice Abbott, The Jewish card-player which realized $2,875.