Bidders gravitated towards the strong section of Graphic Art offered at Kestenbaum & Company’s auction of Fine Judaica on September 23rd. Isidor Kaufmann’s beautiful Portrait of a Hassidic Rabbi, c. 1915, was purchased for $255,300 (Lot 29). A fine collection of important Soviet, German and early Zionist posters performed well with the Soviet posters in particular yielding high prices.
Spirited bidding began at the start of the auction for two Soviet Yiddish posters, both 1917: “Vote for the Jewish People’s Party. Vote for Ballot-line for Jewish Co-operation”, earned $13,530 against an estimate of $5,000-7,000 (Lot 1) and “Unanimously Vote for the Jewish National List. Free Jews, in a Free Russia…”, also achieved $13,530 against its pre-sale estimate of $5,000-7,000 (Lot 2). Also noteworthy among the graphic art were works formerly in the collection of Lady Charlotte Louise Adela Evelina Rothschild Behrens including a 19th century watercolor of the original Rothschild residence, Frankfurt am Main, which brought in $9,840 against an estimate of $4,000-6,000 (Lot 52).
Within the Printed Books section of the sale, a highlight was a beautiful bibliophilic set of the first printing of the Talmud in Amsterdam, 1644-47, which sold over its estimate at $49,200 (Lot 304). Another text far exceeding expectations was Jacob Emden’s Seder Tephilah, Koretz, 1818, signed and inscribed by the Chesed L’Avraham. Estimated at $800-1,200, it ultimately sold for $24,600, more than 20 times its estimate (Lot 154). A large number of 16th century Talmud tractates printed by Daniel Bomberg (Lots 183-193) also performed well.
Among the manuscripts, Rabbi Saul Morteira’s beautifully composed magnum opus: “Treatise on the Truth of the Law of Moses,” Amsterdam, 1705, garnered $24,600 (Lot 132) and the Rogatchover Gaon’s unpublished notes on Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Warsaw, 1881, attained $18,450 (Lot 299).
Elsewhere in the auction, of note in the Ceremonial Arts section was a rare Afghan silver and wood Elijah circumcision staff, 19th century. Estimated at $5,000-7,000, it sold for $12,300 (Lot 62).
Kestenbaum & Company will next be auctioning Israeli & International Art: The Collection of the Late Stanley Batkin, on November 17th, 2016. The company’s next general auction of Fine Judaica featuring Printed Books and Manuscripts will take place in the Winter of 2017. For further information, or for any other queries, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197 or Jackie@kestenbaum.net