Headlining Kestenbaum & Company’s auction of Fine Judaica on Thursday, June 23rd was the earliest Hebrew prayer-book printed in Germany, Augsburg, 1532-33. This unicum also included the earliest Hagadah to be printed in Germany. Estimated at $20,000-30,000, after competitive bidding including a battle between seven phone bidders, it was hammered down at $60,000 (Lot 147).
Chabad related material in the sale drew much interest. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson’s record of financial accounts recording the very beginnings of Lubavitch Chassidism in the United States, 1940-41 earned $32,000 against an estimate of $12,000-18,000 (Lot 236) and an archive of correspondence primarily between Samuel Kramer, Esq. and Rabbi Shemaryahu Gourary in regard to rescuing Rabbis and students of Yeshivath Tomchei Temimim from war-torn Europe, 1940-41, realized $8,000 (Lot 234).
Noteworthy among the manuscripts in the sale was an important Kabbalistic work, Abraham ben Mordechai Azulai’s Ma’aseh Choshev, Hebron, 1677, which brought in $10,000 (lot 213) and a rare French liturgical rite according to the custom of Lisle-sur-la-Sorgue, 1650, which achieved $9,000 (Lot 221).
The Holy Land Maps section of the sale brought solid results. Out of the thirty-six offered in the auction, nearly all of them found homes. Heinrich Bunting’s celebrated clover-leaf map, Magdeburg, 1581 reached $7,000 against an estimate of $3,000-5,000 (Lot 276) and Jan & George Horn Jansson’s rare map in six individual hand-colored copperplate sheets, Amsterdam, 1658, garnered $5,000 (Lot 293).
Another lot attracting attention and featured on the back cover of the auction catalogue was the Flag of the High Commissioner of Palestine, signed by Sir Harold MacMichael, Jerusalem, 1945. Estimated at $5,000-7,000, it was purchased for $10,000 (Lot 264).
Among the 20th century Ceremonial Objects from the collection of the late Stanley Batkin, a silver Yemini ethrog container with delicate filigree and cabochon gemstones, attained $4,000 (Lot 308) and Ludwig Wolpert silver ethrog container sold for $4,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $1,500-2,000 (Lot 309).
Kestenbaum & Company’s next auction of Fine Judaica will take place in September 2016. For further information, to request images, or for any other queries, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197 or Jackie@kestenbaum.net