Kestenbaum & Company held their inaugural sale at their new galleries located at 12 West 27th Street in New York City on December 4, 2003. The auction, consisting of Hebrew Printed Books & Manuscripts from The Rare Book Room of The Jews' College Library, London brought in more than $800,000. The bidding was brisk both in the salesroom and on the phones.
The sale, the second in a continuing series of Auctions devoted to selling exceptional Books and Manuscripts from the Jews' College Rare Book Room, featured numerous highly sought-after scholarly books from the College along with American Judaica, books relating to the Jews of India, and a significant collection of books and manuscripts relating to Spanish and Portuguese Jewry and their Sephardic heritage.
The top lot was an early incunable of Maimonides' Code of Jewish Law printed in Soncino in 1490 which realized $43,125. High prices were also achieved for a rare early Hebrew Bible, Pesaro, 1515-1516, which reached $35,650 against an estimate of $15,000-18,000 and another Hebrew Bible, a fine copy of the most scholarly edition of the Rabbinic Bibles, Basle, 1618-1619 which sold for $21,850 against an estimate of $10,000-12,000. Also of interest was Abraham Ibn Ezra's astronomical book with diagrams, Venice, 1485 which did well, bringing in $21,850.