An extraordinarily rare and important 18th century, Polish parcel-gilt silver filigree spice container was the star lot at Kestenbaum & Company’s highly anticipated auction of Magnificent Judaica from the Collection of The Jewish Historical Society of England held on December 6th, 2012. After much interest and intense bidding, the breathtaking spice tower, estimated at $150,000-200,000, finally realized $280,000 (excluding buyer’s premium) setting a world record for the highest price paid at auction for a spice-container. The spice-tower, replete with intricate motifs and exquisite cast military figures had garnered intense attention prior to the sale due to its imposing size, beauty and remarkably fine condition.
The single-owner auction of highly select items from the Jewish Historical Society of England’s sumptuous collection of rare silver Judaica was met with very broad acclaim and ultimately much success. The 19-lot sale of ceremonial objects brought in a total of more than $670,000. Kestenbaum & Company was also pleased to welcome a number of new clients, both institutional and private, to this exciting field.
The auction opened with a bang, as the first lot, a fine German parcel-gilt silver Sabbath Kiddush Goblet from Augsburg, 1747-49, sold for $27,000, far exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $10,000-15,000. Lot 4, a rare German 18th century silver Festival Kiddush Goblet created much discussion before the auction in regard to fascinating curatorial aspects concerning the engraved illustrations featured along the bowl of the cup. With half a dozen bidders vying for it, the goblet was ultimately purchased for $50,000 against an estimate of $20,000-30,000.
The spice containers in the auction performed extremely well, selling far above their high pre-auction estimates. An 18th century Italian silver spice container earned $23,000, four times its high estimate, and a Turkish, 19th century silver spice container/Torah finial attained $25,000, almost ten times its high estimate. Two fine Torah breast-plates offered in the auction also evoked enthusiastic responses. The smaller of the two, an elegant Polish parcel-gilt silver Torah shield, late 18th-early 19th century reached $29,000. The larger one from 19th century Berlin, composed in parcel-gilt silver and decorated with semi-precious stones, featured later plaques engraved in 1934 by the Jewish Historical Society of England dedicated to their President Gustave Tuck. It sold at the auction for $24,000.
Mr. David Jacobs, current Chairman of the JHSE, commented from London after the auction, “The Jewish Historical Society of England is thrilled at the outcome of the auction and the amazing prices obtained by Kestenbaum & Company for these wonderful ritual objects. The substantial monies obtained will enable the Society to create many and varied opportunities for the development and understanding of Anglo-Jewish History.”
Kestenbaum & Company’s next auction of Fine Judaica, featuring Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic and Ceremonial Art will be held on January 31, 2013.
For further information, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197. or