Kestenbaum & Company’s first auction in its new auction-gallery at 242 West 30th Street in New York City was held on December 10th. Most lots sold within estimates generally towards the higher end or above, and the overall results were satisfying with an 85% sell-through rate. Clearly, Kestenbaum & Company continues to maintain a healthy Judaica market.
The auction featured Hebrew Printed Books, Manuscripts, Ceremonial & Graphic Art including the Library of the Late Dr. Max Kimche (the third portion) and the final selections from the Late Charles Richter Collection of Liturgy.
Among rare Bibles offered, buyers favored an edition of Bomberg’s Rabbinic Bible, Venice, 1546-8, which realized $11,685 against an estimate of $4,000-6,000 (lot 63) and Plantin’s Hebrew Bible, Antwerp, 1566, which brought in $4,182, above its pre-sale estimate of $2,000-3,000 (lot 62). Also of note was Elijah, Gaon of Vilna’s Arba’ah Ve’Esrim featuring a rare map of the Land of Israel, Vilna, 1838, which sold for $7,995, sailing above its pre-auction estimate of $1,000-1,500 (lot 102).
Noteworthy among the Passover Hagadot in the sale was Musaph LeHagadah shel Pesach, an historic edition printed for Jews serving in the U.S. Army, Munich Enclave, 1946. This Hagadah celebrating the first Passover festival following the defeat of Nazi Germany, was issued under the direction of U.S. Army Chaplain, Rabbi Abraham J. Klausner and features poignant illustrations paralleling the suffering of Jews under the Nazis and the oppression of the Jews in ancient Egypt. After competitive bidding it was purchased for $17,220 against an estimate of $7,000-10,000 (lot 132).
Further works of World War II interest were: Sharit Ha-Platah, Vols I-V, the earliest lists of names of Jewish survivors of Nazi death-camps prepared by the above-mentioned U.S. Army Chaplain which yielded $3,998 against an estimate of $1,000-1,500 (lot 148) and the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction Inc. Minutes of Advisory Committee Meetings detailing the whereabouts and disposition of surviving artworks of European Jewry at the conclusion of World War II. The lot reached $2,337, far above its pre-sale estimate of $300-500 (lot 150).
Also of note among the Hagadot was a rare 18th century edition featuring woodcut illustrations and Judeo-German translation, Frankfurt a/Main, garnering $4,428 against an estimate of $1,200-1,500 (lot 123).
Good examples of early liturgical works included Machzor mikol Hashanah, Sabbioneta-Cremona, 1557-1560, which attained $9,225 against an estimate of $3,000-5,000 (lot 192); David Kimche’s Sepher Hashorashim, Venice, 1529, which sold for $3,444 (lot 179); and Rabbi Isaac Dov Halevi’s (the Wuerzburger Rav) copy of Midrash Tehilim Rabatha, Venice, 1546, which realized $4,428 against an estimate of $2.000-2,500 (lot 221).
Additional sale highlights included the second edition of the Jerusalem Talmud, Cracow, 1609, which achieved $4,182 against an estimate of $2,000-3,000 (lot 270) and from the Autograph Letters section of the auction one written by Israel Meir Kagan, the “Chofetz Chaim”, Radin, 1928, reached $5,904 against a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-3,000 (lot 288).
For further information please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197.