September 26, 2005--Kestenbaum & Company’s first Judaica auction of the 2005-2006 season got off to a rousing start on September 20th with nearly 90% of the more than 340 lots on offer being sold. The sale, which consisted of Printed Books and Manuscripts, featured a collection of some 120 lots of Hebrew books consigned from the library of a dedicated bibliophile. All but three of those books found homes. Categories that performed particularly well were Americana, books dealing with Chassidism and liturgical books.
Bringing in the highest price of the day was a rarity of French Judaica--Lettre d’Espagne presentee a la Royne Regente. Par le Sieur Philotee Elian de Mont Alto, Paris, 1614. This scarce personal and political statement realized $82,600. A portfolio by artist Arthur Szyk--Statute of Kalisz, Paris, 1925 was another top seller. Never before seen at auction, it was purchased for $64,900 against an estimate of $30,000-40,000.
In the American Judaica section, buyers were drawn to a collection of Speeches on the Jew Bill in the House of Delegates in Maryland, Philadelphia, 1829. Estimated at $6,000-8,000, it sold for $49,560 after competitive bidding. A handsome copy of Sepher Tehillim, Cambridge, 1809, the first printing of any part of the Bible in Hebrew in America, was another fine example of Americana garnering $23,600.
Further highlighting the sale was the first complete set of the Talmud printed in Germany, published by Behrend Lehmann, 1697-1699, which realized $24,780 against an estimate of $15,000-20,000. Other standouts included a lavishly deluxe copy of the celebrated and influential Second Amsterdam Hagadah, 1712, which earned $20,060; a complete first edition Hebrew Grammar and Dictionary by Alfonso de Zamora, Spain, 1526 which brought in $25,960; and a Pentateuch with the first appearance of the commentary known as “Or Ha’chaim”, Venice, 1742, which sold for $22,420.
Additional strong performers included a First Edition of Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Venice, 1574-75 which was bought for $10,620 against an estimate of $6,000-8,000; a Book of Commandments by Marrano physician-scholar Abraham Pharar--Declaracaõ das 613 Encomendancas de nossa Sancta Ley, conforme à Exposissaõ de nossos Sabios, muy neçessaria ao Judesmo, Amsterdam, 1624, which reached $17,700, more than tripling its pre-sale estimate of $5,000-7,000; and a very attractive Siddur Tikunei Shabbath, Zhitomir, 1848 which realized $14,750, sailing over its pre-sale price of $5,000-7,000.
Kestenbaum & Company’s forthcoming sale of Fine Judaica: Books from the Library of Jacobo Furman of Chile, Santiago, The Remaining Books and Manuscripts from the Library of Professor Abraham J. Karp, Graphic Art from the Collection of Daniel M. Friedenberg, Ceremonial Art and other Diverse Judaica, will take place on Tuesday, December 13, 2005.