Not since the first Sassoon Auction at Sothebys London in
has a Judaica auction rooms atmosphere been so electric!
I have not enjoyed an evening out this much in years!
Such is how two illustrious bidders described the most recent, highly anticipated auction of Kestenbaum & Company which took place on Tuesday, November 28th, 2000.
Upon the instruction of the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue, Kestenbaum & Company was honored to offer at auction, the Library of the Beth Hamidrash of the Court of the British Chief Rabbinate and its Beth Din. The Librarys heart and soul is the Collection of Solomon Hirschel (1762-1845), Englands first formally recognized Chief Rabbi. The scion of one of Europes most distinguished Rabbinical dynasties, Hirschel inherited many important books from his celebrated forebears. Thus the chain of custodianship of this Collection from at least the 18th century (if not earlier) to the present, is clearly defined. Many volumes contain learned marginal notations, and ownership inscriptions mostly by various members of the Berlin-Hirschel Family.
On the 28th of November, nearly 150 people filled the Auction Room at the Doral Park Avenue Hotel in New York City to capacity and numerous phone and commission bidders participated in what was to date, Kestenbaum & Companys highest grossing and most highly anticipated sale. Most 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 the prestigious volumes new to the market from this historic collection.
The November 28th, 2000 auction was Kestenbaum & Companys highest grossing sale to date realizing a total of $1.9 million. 78% of the total lots offered sold, of the 150 books and manuscripts from the Library of the London Beth Din, 99.6% sold (all but one lot).
David Kimchis Sepher Hasharashim,
Naples, 1491, fetched $48,875.
Highlights of the sale included (all prices include buyers premium):
The Second Part of the Auction was: Selections of Ceremonial & Graphic Art from Private Collections. Highlights included:
Ten volumes from the 1520 Bomberg edition of the Talmud,
the rarest and most desirable Tractates, realized record prices.
"The Contemplative Elder" circa 1900,
by Isidor Kaufmann, sold for $69,000.