Auctioneers of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Fine Art

Auction 7 - June 22rd 1999

Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art
The Property of Various Owners including:
The Late Bernard & Francis Lustig Collection of Judaica
The Property of H.E. Prince Nicolai Callimachi of Moldavia
A Large Collection of Hagadoth — The Property of a Gentleman

Oil painting by Victor Markewitsch, 1914 sold for $4025
Oil painting by Victor Markewitsch, 1914 sold for $4025


“A mammoth sale and a mammoth success” was how one illustrious bidder described the most recent, highly anticipated auction of Kestenbaum & Co which took place on June 22.

Over 250 people filled the auction room at the Doral Park Avenue Hotel in New York City, and close to 100 phone and order bidders participated in what was, to date, Kestenbaum & Company’s largest and most extensive sale. Every important figure in the close-knit segment of the rare book market was involved as noted figures from private, academic, museum and library collections around the world vied to outbid each other for prestigious volumes new to the market. The sale also boasted an impressive collection of ceremonial and graphic art.

The collection of items comprised the property of a number of owners including the Late Bernard and Frances Lustig Collection of Hebrew Books and Judaica with its 200 volumes of rare Hebrew printed books, select North African manuscripts and wonderful assortment of Jewish ceremonial objects. Also on offer was an extensive collection of Hagadoth spanning four centuries of Hebrew printing, featuring the first American Hagadah, published in New York, 1837, as well as a number of other fascinating firsts.


Highlights of the sale included:

  • A large cast bronze, eighteenth century Hannukah lamp which sold for $8000.
  • A silver hanging Sabbath lamp from Venice 1800, which sold for $10,000
  • A Hebrew prayer book, in fine Italian binding, ca 1770, from the collection of HE Prince Nicolai Callimachi of Moldovia, estimated to sell for $6000 - $9000 which sold for $27,000.
  • A signed and titled painting of Saul Raskin “Hassidic Song Without Words” which sold for $2000.
  • A collection of etchings an lithographs all signed and dated by the artist Herman Struck sold for $850.
  • A single volume of the exceedingly rare vellum issue of the Plantion Polyglot, printed on personal commission of King Phillip II of Spain, which sold for $27,000.
  • The infamous papal bill of Clement VIII, 1593, beginning with the significant phrase Caeca et Obdurata (‘Blind & Obdurate’) sold for $10,000.
  • A first Bomberg edition of one volume of the Mishna, Venice, 1522, estimated to sell for $1,200 - $1,800 sold for $4,250.
  • A book of Kabbalistic sermons to the Pentateuch , 1605, the first and to date only Hebrew book printed in Damascus sold for $23,000.
  • A rich, enthralling and historic archive relating to the first and subseqent Zionist Congresses estimated to sell for $12,000 - $18,000 fetched $23,000.