Auctioneers of Rare Books, Collectibles and Fine Art

Auction 6 - November 17th 1998

Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art
Including A Private Collection of Jewish Art and Illustrated Books and
The Holy Land Collection of The Late Erich Wronker

The durability of the Hebrew Book market was on display at this Kestenbaum & Company auction. The sale featured a fine assortment of early printed Rabbinic Literature, luxury editions of illustrated Hagadoth and Holy Land memorabilia.

Undaunted by the topsy-turvy state of the world economy at the time, dealers, collectors and curators bid aggressively for the authentic rare Hebrew printed books. Consignors and dealers had been speculating for months how this tight-knit sector of the book market might react to recent tumbles in the larger economy. By the end of the evening, all agreed that demand for luxury Judaica remained strong.

No doubt, bidders were driven to enthusiasm by the remarkable martial gathered by Mr. Daniel E. Kestenbaum, a world renowned expert in the fields of Hebraica and Judaica. Highlights of the sale included:

  • The first English translation of the Pentateuch by an American for an
    American Jewish audience; Isaac Leeser's crowning literary achievement, published
    in Philadelphia in 1845-6, sold for $9775. (Lot 12).
  • The second Biblia Rabbinica, the first Hebrew bible to be printed with the Massoretic text, printed in 1524-5 by Daniel Bomberg in Venice, fetched $17,250. (Lot 27).
  • A very early document establishing political rights for Jews resident in Poland, signed by King Sigismund Augustus and dated 17th June, 1562, fetched $16,100. (Lot 270).

(Note: all prices include buyers premium)

First edition (1915) of Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (Lot 156) sold for $2875
First edition (1915) of Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
(Lot 156) sold for $2875