Kestenbaum & Co. to Auction Printed Books, Manuscripts, Letters & Graphic Art, June 22

Kestenbaum & Company’s June 22nd auction will include nearly 350 lots of Fine Judaica. Featured in the sale will be Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters and Graphic Art. On offer will be a broad range of subjects within the Printed Books section of the sale, including incunabula, early 16th century Bibles and rabbinica, Chassidic texts, books relating to America, France, Russia, Spain and Portugal, as well as Passover Hagadahs, Illustrated and Holy Land Travel and anti-Semitic and Holocaust related materials. 

The auction catalogue cover lot features Aryeh Yehudah Leib ben Mordechai of Brody’s Zemir Aritzm VeCharvoth Tzurim, an exceedingly rare first edition of the earliest anti-Chassidic polemical tract, printed in Oleksinetz, 1772, at a pre-auction estimate of $40,000-60,000 (Lot 81).  Another important lot on offer is the second incunable edition of Jacob ben Asher’s halachic code Arba’ah Turim, Soncino, c. 1490, estimate $60,000-80,000 (Lot 173).  

Highlights of American and Anglo Judaica include:

  • The earliest known Chevrah Kadisha (burial) manual in the United States, written by Jacob Mordecai, Richmond, VA, c. 1823, at an estimate of $10,000-15,000 (Lot 8)
  • The second American edition of the Passover Hagadah, New York, 1850, estimate $5,000-7,000 (Lot 120)
  • The first English translation of the Passover Hagadah according to Aschkenzic rite, London, 1770, estimate $5,000-7,000 (Lot 119)

A selections of texts originating from other areas around the globe includes:

  • Spanish physician Fernando (Isaac) Cardoso’s Utilidades del agua de la nieve, del bever frio I caliente [“The Uses of Water and Snow and of Cold and Hot Beverages], Madrid, 1637, estimate $3,000-5,000 (Lot 78)
  • Portuguese Marrano Pedro Teixeira’s travels through the Persian Gulf and the Near and Far East, Antwerp, 1610, estimate $4,000-6,000 (Lot 236)
  • Loi Relative aux Juifs, granting Jews full equality in the realm of political and social rights in France, Paris, 1791, estimate $5,000-7,000 (Lot 109)
  • Moise Sabato Beer’s broadside Gadol Verav Veram Napoleon, a poem in praise of Napoleon with numerous Biblical and classical allusions, Pisa, 1809, estimate $2,000-3,000 (Lot 206)
  • Jacob Cremieu’s original manuscript of the first Hebrew-French dictionary, 1838, estimate $2,000-3,000 (Lot 270)
  • Military Oath of Allegiance to Czar Nicholas II written for Jews, Russia, 1906, estimate $1,000-1,500 (Lot 220)

Of note among anti-Semitic, Holocaust and Zionist related books:

  • A letter of protection issued by the Spanish Ambassador Angel Sanz Briz, “The Angel of Budapest”, 1944, estimate $10,000-15,000 (Lot 133)
  • A large 4-color map of Lodz displaying how the Nazis radically restructured the demographics of this Polish city as a way to exclude its Jews, 1942, estimate $1,200-1,800 (Lot 143)
  • An autograph book belonging to the journalist Oscar Guren, with hundreds of entries obtained at the Twentieth Zionist Congress, 1937 and the Evian Conference, 1938, estimate $4,000-6,000 (Lot 317)

Further books of interest include:

  • Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud’s Warum Krieg?, the celebrated exchange on the root causes of war by two of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, Paris, 1933, estimate $1,200-1,800
  • Illustrated Books including those by George Grosz, Alfred Kubin, Ze’ev Raban, Karl M. Schultheiss, etc. (Lots 254-255, 260-261)

Noteworthy Manuscripts selections include:

  • An early 15th century manuscript of Jacob ben Asher’s halachic code: Tur - Choshen Mishpat, estimate $25,000-30,000 (Lot 299)
  • Samuel David Luzzatto’s (The Shadal) autograph manuscript, Commentary to the Book of Ezekiel, Padua, estimate $10,000-15,000 (Lot 300)
  • Yitzhak ben Yoseph Israeli’s astronomical work, Yesod Olam, with many charts and diagrams, Vilna, 1769, estimate $5,000-7,000 (Lot 311)
  • Yoseph Aschkenzi of Safed’s Kabbalistic manuscript, Safed, late 17th century, estimate $4,000-6,000 (Lot 265)
  • Samson Raphael Hirsch’s “Cheschwan” autograph manuscript, Frankfurt am Main, c. 1857, estimate $3,000-5,000 (Lot 279)

Rounding out the sale within the Graphic Art section:

  • A group of c. 45 Anglo-Judaic prints including portraits as well as scenes by Rowlandson and other British caricaturists, 18th-19th centuries, estimate $5,000-7,000 (Lot 325)
  • A group of c. 24 prints of mostly Jewish costume, also with synagogue and related scenes, 18th-19th century, estimate $2,000-3,000 (Lot 324)

The auction will take place on Thursday, June 22nd at 3:00 pm in our gallery located at 242 West 30th Street in New York City. The exhibition will be held from Monday, June 19th through Wednesday, June 21st. For further information, to request images, or for any other queries, please contact Jackie Insel at 212-366-1197 or

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