Auction 100 Fine Judaica: Rare Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic & Ceremonial Arts
By Kestenbaum & Company
Jan 19, 2023
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Building 77, 141 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11205, United States

Kestenbaum & Company - Auction 100

Auction Summary

          Kestenbaum & Company is honored to announce its 100th Auction, which will take place on Thursday, January 19th at 1pm EST. Having served a broad and diverse range of clients for three decades, the 100th Auction is an opportunity to continue offering only the highest standard of Rare Judaica and Fine Art. Below are some highlights of the celebratory event, although, as always, perusal of the full catalogue is recommended (see link below).

          In Fine Jewish Art we are privileged to present two paintings by Isidor Kaufmann: ‘ Portrait of a Young Man Wearing Talis and Kolpik Fur Hart’ (Lot 111, Est. $300,000-500,000) and ‘Portrait of a Yeshiva Student Wearing a Black Beaver Hat’ (Lot 112, Est. $200,000-300,000). These two offerings comprise perfect samples of Kaufmann’s distinctive, inimitable style. TheArthur Szyk Haggadah, printed entirely on vellum (Lot 72, Est. $25,000-30,000) is perhaps the most sublime of all Passover Hagadahs, while the category is rounded out by a Suite of 18 Illustrations to Israel Zangwill’s ‘Der König der Schnorrer’ by Rahel Marcus-Szalit (Lot 113, Est. $14,000-18,000). These drawings were thought to be lost to posterity over the past century, only to have been discovered most recently.

          Ritual Objects is a category with many noteworthy offerings. Significant among them is a rare and highly importantParcel-Gilt Silver Filigree Spice Container from 19 th century Germany / Galicia (Lot 138, Est. $50,000-100,000). A spice-tower of exquisite quality, it is a scarce fusion of competing regional styles. Comes complete with contemporary custom fitted case. The images of a remarkably decorated, heavy Silver Chanukah Lamp (Lot 140, Est. $15,000-20,000) originating in Poland, c. 1800, must be viewed in full. The same is true of the Large 19th Century Continental Silver Megillah Case (Lot 143, Est. $15,000-20,000) which depicts Queen Esther bravely approaching King Ahasuerus.

          Among the many Hebrew Manuscripts contained in the catalogue, a series of Biblical Manuscripts from the Cairo Genizah (Lots 12-15) deserve special mention. The manuscripts, dating as far back as the 10th century, contain entire Torah portions and provide valuable insights to medieval Jewish scholarship. Distinctive to Kabbalistic works, a Manuscript of the Shulchan Aruch Ha’Arizal, Posen, c. 1650, may be the oldest extant record of this important text (Lot 19, Est. $15,000-20,000). Another unique sub-category contained in this auction are letters written by members of great rabbinic families, such as that of R. Samson Raphael Hirsch (Lots 16-17) and the renowned Schneersohn family of Chabad-Lubavitch (Lots 26-29). Highlighting the personal side of the lives of celebrated Jewish leaders, the letters are matchless in their ability to humanize larger-than-life figures.


          One especially strong category is American-Judaica. An almost-complete 20 Volume Set of Isaac Leeser’s The Occident is a treasure trove of Jewish History, both American and foreign. The monthly was America’s first successful Jewish periodical, issued in Philadelphia between 1843-1869 (Lot 43, Est. $40,000-60,000). So too, Isaac Pinto’s Prayers for Shabbath, Rosh Hashanah and Kipur is the first complete Jewish prayer-book published in the New World (Lot 42, Est. $60,000-80,000). The highly scarce text was issued in New York, 1766. Relating to pioneers of Orthodox Jewish life in the New York area, a List of Deceased Members of the Chevra Kadisha of Ahavath Torah, Englewood, New Jersey (1912-1933) strikes a chord (Lot 36, Est. $5,000-7,000).

          Throughout the pages of the catalogue, testaments of character abound. Notable among them are lots relating to20th Century Jewish Leaders. These include aLetter from Albert Einsten (Lot 10, Est. $15,000-20,000) on the necessity of moral courage, as well as the Official Birth Certificate of Theodor Herzl’s youngest daughter Marguerite Herzl (Lot 11, $3,000-5,000). Of exceptional interest is a complete collection of the c. 90 Research Patents of Chaim Weizmann (Lot 99, $10,000-15,000). Submitted in London over the course of 40 years (1905-1945), it is oft forgotten that Israel’s first president was a scientist at heart, whose innovations contributed significantly to the Allied victory in World War One. See the full catalogue description for a complete description of how Weizmann fused his technical acumen with Zionistic ambition.

          In Land of Israel, we are privileged to present the First Telephone Directory Produced for the Land of Israel (Lot 87, Est. $3,000-5,000). Printed in Jerusalem, 1921, it is a symbol highlighting the achievements made by contemporary Israel’s high-tech prowess. Another item of tremendously significant importance is an Archive of Documents Pertaining to the Yemenite-Jewish Community of Kfar HaShiloach, Jerusalem (Lot 8, Est. $12,000-18,000). The archive contains much information on legal ownership of properties in the original neighborhood, as well as on efforts of the deportees to return or receive compensation. Intersecting Land of Israel with Photography (Lots 130-136) is Photographies de Terre Sainte (Jerusalem, late 19th century), with 48 Prints of Scenery Across the Holy Land by Felix Bonfils (Lot 132, Est. $3,000-4,000). Another important category of the auction is Holocaust materials (Lots 75-83), containing a diverse range of materials.

          Finally, within Philately & Numismatics, a Set of Three Imperforate Full Sheets of 50 Stamps (250m, 500m and 1,000m) from Israel, 1948 comprise the Ultimate Israel Philatelic Rarity (Lot 102, Est. $100,000-150,000). Similarly, the First Stamps Issued by the Nascent State of Israel, five full sheets (Lot 103, Est. $25,000-30,000) are highly rare. So too is a Rare Full Set of British Mandate-Issued Coins from 1927-1946 (Lot 100, Est. $7,000-9,000).

          Kestenbaum & Company is proud to continue its tradition of quality, service, and commitment. As we mark our 100th Auction, we look forward to engaging with our clients, sharing our mutual passion for Jewish Tradition, History and Culture.

Questions and comments about the sale, as well as general inquiries may be directed to Shaya at

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Sold for: $1,800
Start price:
$ 1,800
Estimated price :
$2,000 - $3,000
Buyer's Premium: 25%
sales tax: 8.875% On the full lot's price and commission
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Testimonial Certificate of Appreciation to MORITZ POLLACK RITTER VON BORKENAU from the Verein fuer Karankenpflege und Unterstuetzung Handlungsangehoeriger Israeliten in Wien in gratitude for his involvement and assistance to the Jewish medical relief center.

Manuscript in German composed in a beautiful calligraphic hand in colors and gilt. Pencil drawing above of the Association’s logo. With autograph signatures of the twelve community leaders.

Two loose leaves. Unbound. Folio.

Vienna, 24th November, 1885. 

    Moriz Pollack, Ritter von Borkenau (1827-1904) was a Viennese financier and President of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien (IKG). For his public services he received from the Austrian Emperor the patent of nobility with the title "Von Borkenau."

    As a young man Pollack took charge of his family's leather business and successfully extended its export reach to France and Germany. After which he went into banking, and was associated with the Niederösterreichische Escomptebank. He also officiated as deputy of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, director of the Wiener Kaufmannshalle, and examiner of the Austro-Hungarian Bank.


    A member of the municipal council of Vienna, Pollack took an active part in the relief and construction works in the year of the great flood (1862). In 1867 he was sent by the city of Vienna as one of the delegates on the occasion of the coronation of the King of Hungary, and in 1873 Pollack was made chairman of the executive committee of the Vienna Exposition. Pollak took a very active part in the affairs of the Jewish community, filling various offices, including finally that of president of the IKG Wien from 1884.

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