Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Auction: Kestenbaum & Company Fine Judaica on June 25th

Auction: Kestenbaum & Company Fine Judaica on June 25th

The following text is provided by Kestenbaum & Company:

Kestenbaum & Company will conduct an auction of Fine Judaica on Thursday, June 25th at 3:00 pm. The sale will take place at the firm’s gallery in New York City and will feature the Library of the Late Dr. Max Kimche of Zurich. Besides Dr. Kimche’s collection of Important Hebrew Printed Books, the sale will also offer a fine selection of Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Ceremonial and Graphic Art.

Dr. Max Kimche (1907-1987), a lawyer and financier, was a highly respected member of Zurich’s legal and banking communities as well as a prominent member of Zurich’s Jewish community. His dedication to his faith and commitment to Jewish social-needs was manifested by his work on behalf of Holocaust survivors and his substantial support for Jewish Statehood. A direct descendent of Rabbi David Kimche (1160-1235), his devotion to scholarly Jewish learning is evident in the supreme collection of books he acquired over the course of three decades and now offered here for auction sale.

The Kimche Library features singular Incunabula such as Moses of Coucy’s Sepher Mitzvoth Gadol, Soncino, 1488, at an estimate of $40,000-60,000 (lot 208), David Kimche’s Sepher HaShorashim, Naples, 1490, estimate $20,000-30,000 (lot 169), Joseph Albo’s Sepher Ha’Ikarim, Soncino, 1485, estimate $20,000-30,000 (lot 12), and Yedai’ah Bederso’s Bechinat Olam, Soncino, 1484, estimated at $20,000-25,000 (lot 51).

Rare 16th century Hebrew Books comprise the heart of the Kimche Library. The cities of origin of these texts were some of the most notable locations for early Hebrew printing. Fine examples include Genoa: the first Polyglot Bible, 1516, estimate $10,000-15,000 (lot 59); Venice: a complete edition of the Mishnah with commentary by Maimonides, 1546-7, estimate $15,000-20,000 (lot 200); Augsburg: Jacob Ben Asher’s Arba’ah Turim, 1540, estimate $15,000-20,000 (lot 151); Riva di Trento: A deluxe copy printed entirely on blue paper of Jacob Ben Asher’s Arba’ah Turim, 1560, estimate $10,000-15,000 (lot 152); Pesaro: Midrash Chamesh Megiloth, 1519, estimate $12,000-15,000 (lot 194), Don Isaac Abrabanel’s Perush Nevi’im Rishonim, 1511, estimate $7,000-9,000 (lot 2) and Abrabanel’s Perush Nevi’im Achronim, 1520, estimate $7,000-9,000 (lot 3); Constantinople: Abraham Ben Nathan of Lunel’s Sepher Hamanhig, 1519, estimate $7,000-9,000 (lot 6); Rimini: Bachiah Ben Asher’s Biur al HaTorah, 1524-26, estimate $6,000-9,000 (lot 47) and Fano: Jonah Gerondi’s Sha’arei Teshuvah, 1505, estimate $20,000-25,000 (lot 124) and Judah Halevi’s Sepher HaKuzari, 1506, at an estimate of $20,000-25,000 (lot 131).

Hebrew Books published by the renowned Venetian printer Daniel Bomberg include Isaac Ben Jacob Alfasi’s Sepher Halachoth Rav Alfas, 1521-22, estimate $20,000-30,000 (lot 13); a selection of Babylonian Talmud Tractates such as Masecheth Yevamoth, 1522, estimated at $30,000-40,000 (lot 247) and the first two Biblia Rabbinica: The first from 1516-17, estimate $20,000-30,000 (lot 62) and the second 1524-25, at an estimate of $10,000-15,000 (lot 60).

Also featured in the Kimche Collection are Kabbalistic works such as Shimon bar Yochai’s Sepher HaZohar, Mantua, 1558-60, estimate $10,000-15,000 (lot 232) and Sepher Yetzirah, Mantua, 1562, estimated at $7,000-9,000 (lot 165). Both of these mystical texts are first editions. Other books of note include Johannes Reuchlin’s De Arte Cabalistica, Hagenau, 1517, estimate $5,000-7,000 (lot 224); Johann Caspar Ulrich’s chronicle of Jewish life in Switzerland from the 13th century until the 18th century, Basle, 1768, estimate $3,000-4,000 (lot 243) and Theodor Herzl’s Medinat HaYehudim, the first Hebrew edition of “Der Judenstaat”, Warsaw, 1896, at an estimate of $2,000-3,000 (lot 259).

In addition to the Kimche Collection there are many good items of Americana, Illustrated Books, Manuscripts, Zionist and Holocaust-related material. Within the American Judaica section are two Parlimentary Acts relating to civil rights for the Jewish communities of Jamaica and Barbados in the year 1832 (lots 15 and 16). Among the Illustrated Books, highlights include Bernard Picart’s three volume visual Description of the Religious Duties, Manners and Customs of all the Nations of the World, Amsterdam, 1727-38, estimate $4,000-6,000 (lot 270); Max Liebermann’s Der Rabbi von Bacherach, Berlin, 1923, estimate $1,200-1,800 (lot 269); Joseph Budko’s Der Rabbi von Bacherach, Berlin, 1921, estimate $700-1,000 (lot 263) and Abel Pann’s illustrated Five Books of Moses inscribed to Maestro Leonard Bernstein from the Palestine (Eretz-Israel) Philharmonic Orchestra, May, 1947, estimate $200-300 (lot 261).

Interesting selections among the Manuscripts include an illuminated micrographic Sephirath Ha’Omer Chart by David Cohen, Portland, Oregon, 1883, estimate $10,000-15,000 (lot 283); a religious Hebrew guide to funeral rites for the Jews of Jamaica, Kingston, 1868, estimate $5,000-7,000 (lot 282) and a Brazilian Ketubah (Marriage Contract), Bahia, 1844, uniting Grazia Levi and Isaac Amzalak, a Portuguese Jew who played a pivotal role in the Brazilian Jewish Community, estimate $4,000-6,000 (lot 284).

Autograph Letters of note include correspondence by David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin. Also noteworthy is a framed photographic portrait of Albert Einstein, signed and inscribed by him, Los Angeles, 1932, estimate $6,000-7,000 (lot 299) and a German Administrative Order to enforce punitive labor in the Plaszow Concentration Camp, October, 1943 at an estimate of $2,000-3,000 (lot 301).

The Graphic Art section features Sol Nodel’s Book of Grace with 12 illuminated panels of the Hebrew Birchat Hamazon, circa 1968, estimate $7,000-9,000 (lot 322); Janssonius’ exceptionally large Map of the Holy Land, 1658, estimate $5,000-7,000 (lot 319) and a group of drawings and etchings by Issachar Baer Ryback and Hermann Struck. The sale concludes with a small selection of Antique Ceremonial Art.

For further information relating to bidding or any other queries, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197.

The entire catalog can be viewed online here.

Kestenbaum and Company
12 West 27th Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 366-1197
Fax: (212) 366-1368
E-mail: Kestenbook@aol.com

top illustration: Cohen, David. Sephirath Ha'Omer [Chart for Counting of the Omer]. Multicolor Micrography. Red, blue and brown sepia inks on paper. At top Tetragrammaton; below ornate crown borne aloft by two eagles; below Decalogue flanked by lions; below seven-branched Menorah, flanked by two harts; flower motif surrounds entire chart. All amidst dense Hebrew inscriptions.

At the base of the Menorah reads in Hebrew: "This Holy Work was Completed on the 23rd of the Month of Adar Sheini in the Year 1883, Here in Portland, by David Cohen." Chipped, lacking portions from top and right margin, fragile. 22 x 28 inches. [Israel Museum Catalogue: Micrography as Art (1981), pl. 89; Jewish Museum Catalogue, Jewish Heritage in American Folk Art (1984) pp. 79-80, nos. 60-62].

Portland, (Oregon), 23rd Adar Sheini: 1883. $10,000-15,000

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