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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘auction’

16th-Century Talmud Sells for $9.3 Million at Sotheby’s

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

(JNi.media) Sotheby’s set a new world auction record for any piece of Judaica on Tuesday in New York, when one of the finest copies of Daniel Bomberg’s Babylonian Talmud sold for $9.3 million According to Tablet Magazine, the buyer is Leon Black, a New York businessman, founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

The extraordinary volume was purchased by Stephan Loewentheil for the 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop. The Bomberg Talmud led the sale of a selection of extraordinary items from The Valmadonna Trust, which totaled $14.9 million and became the most valuable auction of Judaica ever held. Together with the auctions of Important Judaica and Israeli & International Art, Sotheby’s annual December sales of Judaica and Israeli Art totaled $22.6 million.

The Talmud, or “Oral Law,” is a compendium of hundreds of years of rabbinical discussion and debate which expound upon the laws of the Bible. Daniel Bomberg is responsible for the first complete edition of the Babylonian Talmud (1519-1523), universally recognized not simply as one of the most significant books in the history of Hebrew printing, but as one of the great books of the Western world. The record setting Talmud sold Tuesday is one of the finest copies of Bomberg’s edition – of which only 14 complete 16th century sets survive.

The Valmadonna Library’s copy of the Bomberg Talmud was kept for centuries in the library of Westminster Abbey. In 1956, collector Jack Lunzer attended an exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum celebrating 300 years of Jewish resettlement in England. It was there that he first became aware of the Abbey’s magnificent and complete copy, and vowed somehow to acquire it. He spent the next 25 years determined to fulfill this virtually impossible ambition. Eventually, he purchased a 900-year-old copy of the Abbey’s original Charter, and presented it, along with supporting endowments, to the Abbey in exchange for its copy of the Bomberg Talmud.

A further highlight of Tuesday’s auction of 12 items from the Valmadonna Trust Library is a Hebrew Bible printed in England in 1189, which sold for $3.6 million. Known as the Codex Valmadonna I, this extraordinary book is the only dated Hebrew text that survives from Medieval England, before King Edward I’s 1290 edict expelling the Jews. Also leading the sale was a Illuminated Hebrew Bible: Psalms, with commentary by David Kimhi (the RaDaK), which was sold for $670,000.


‘Enigma’ Code-Breaker’s Notebook Sells at Auction for $1M

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

A 56-page handwritten notebook belonging to World War II Nazi code-breaker Alan Turing sold for more than $1 million at auction Monday by Bonhams in New York.

Turing, a British pioneer in computers and a mathematical genius, led a team of cryptographers in cracking the “unbreakable” Enigma code of Nazi Germany’s military. He is believed to have had a significant impact on helping to end the war.

The notebook, which dates from 1942, is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript in existence; its sale price was considered by the auction house to be a tribute to the code-breaker.

Part of the proceeds from the $1,025,000 sale will be donated to charity, according to NBC News. The identity of the person who purchased the manuscript were withheld by Bonhams at the request of the buyer.

Cassandra Hatton of Bonhams said in a statement to media, “It has been a great privilege to have been involved in this sale and we are immensely pleased that all the people who bid for this unique item and indeed the wider public have recognized Turing’s importance and place in history.”

The 2014 Oscar-winning movie, “The Imitation Game” was based on the real life story of Alan Turing and his race against time to break the “Enigma” code.

Hana Levi Julian

Book of Psalms Printed in US in 1640 Sold for $14.2 Million

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

A copy of a 393-year-old Book of Psalms published by Puritans in Massachusetts has been sold at an auction by Sotheby’s for $14.2 million to American philanthropist and financier David Rubenstein, who plans to lend it to libraries.

Known as the Bay Psalm Book, it is believed to be the first book ever to be published in the colonies that later became the United States of America.

Approximately 1,700 copies of the book were printed in 1640 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, known then as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and only 11 are known to remain.

Nine of them are in libraries and museums, and the Old South Church in Boston disposed of one of its two copies in the auction, which has made the church a lot richer.

The church’s minister Rev. Nancy Taylor said earlier this year, “It’s a spectacular book, arguably one of the most important books in this nation’s history.

Referring to the tiny size of the book, she explained to the Associated Press, “This was a utilitarian book to sing praises to God, so you wanted to be able to fit it in your pocket and take it to church. It probably would have belonged to a single family. It’s a hymn book, made for hard use, to be sung from and held by children, mothers, fathers, widows, widowers, and… who knows? I’m sure it was in the hands of quite a few Puritan worshippers.”

The Bay Book of Psalms fetched a high price despite its containing several printing errors, such as the word “pslame” appearing on the right hand of the page while “Psalm” appears on the left side. It also uses inverted coma instead of apostrophes and has several typographical errors.

For comparison, the last time a copy of the Bay Book of Psalms was sold was in 1947, when it exchanged hands for $151,000, a higher price than other book at the time.

Tuesday’s night sale makes it the most expensive book  ever to be sold in the United States, breaking the previous record of $11.5 million for a compete four-volume first edition of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America,” also sold by Sotheby’s.

Jewish Press Staff

Haggadah Manuscript Found in a Garage May Fetch $1.5 million

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The auction sale of an illustrated Haggadah manuscript dating back to 1726 is expected to bring in as much as $1.5 million, the London Independent reported Tuesday. An auctioneer discovered it in an Osem soup carton in the garage at a house in Manchester where he was carrying out a routine evaluation for the relatives of the owner of the property.

The manuscript contains more than 50 colored scenes from the Torah. Experts think that it was commissioned in Vienna to mark the first child of a member of the Oppenheimer baking family.

The latest owners of the Haggadah smuggled it out of Belgium in 1940 before the Nazis invaded the country.

Dr. Yaakov Wise, of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester, told the British newspaper, “It is very, very lucky that it survived from that period. It is a miracle that it was not thrown out, that it was found and someone realized what it was. I would call it divine providence….

“This was probably in use for 200 years. There are wine and food stains on it which is exactly what you would expect when it was at the table.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Original Schindler’s List to be Sold on eBay for $3 million

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

A list of names of 801 Jews rescued by German industrialist Oskar Schindler went on the auction block on eBay, with a starting price of $3 million.

The 14 pages containing the original Schindler’s List were auctioned off by California collectors Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin, who are hoping to sell it for $5 million. So far, there are no takers, and bidders have until July 28 to stake their claim.

The date April 18, 1945 is written in pencil on the first page. Only male names appear on the German-language list, as well as each person’s date of birth and profession.

The list was named for Oskar Schindler, a German businessman credited with saving more than 1,000 Jews from the Nazis by deeming them essential workers for his enamel works factories.

His story reached worldwide attention after the release of the 1993 feature film “Schindler’s List.” Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie was based on the Booker Prize-winning novel “Schindler’s Ark,” which Australian novelist Thomas Keneally published in 1982.

Of the seven original versions of the list, only four are known to still exist — including two at Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum, and one at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

The sellers said the copy being offered for sale on eBay is located in Israel, according to the paper.

“It is extremely rare that a document of this historical significance is put on the market,” Zimet said. “Many of the survivors on this list and their descendants moved to the United States, and there are names on this list which will sound very familiar to New Yorkers.”

The JTA contributed to this article.

Jewish Press Staff

Dreyfus Letter Fetches nearly $500,000 at Paris Auction

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

A letter handwritten by Alfred Dreyfus, a French Jewish soldier who was wrongly convicted of treason in 1894, was sold at auction for nearly half a million dollars.

The letter, which Dreyfus sent from prison to government officials in an attempt to clear his name, was sold Wednesday for $492,000 at an auction organized by Sotheby’s Paris branch. It was not expected to bring in more than $190,000, according to the French news agency AFP.

Due to Sotheby’s privacy policy, French media did not report the names of the seller or the buyer, but the buyer reportedly participated in the auction over the phone, outbidding several interested parties.

AFP reported that Dreyfus’ grandson, Charles Dreyfus, wrote an open letter this week urging the seller not to sell but to give the letter to a museum.

The letter was “probably given by Pierre Dreyfus, the son of Alfred, to the national French library for safekeeping on May 1940 so that they may protect it from the German occupation,” Sotheby’s said. “The letter was then returned to the Dreyfus family in 1951 and bought” by the person who sold it at Sotheby’s in 1996, the news agency reported.

A captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus was exonerated in 1906 of his conviction on charges of spying for Germany after a lengthy court battle rife with anti-Semitic overtones, which historians describe as a determinant of modern Zionism and a major influence on Theodore Herzl – an Austrian journalist who covered the trial and later founded the World Zionist Congress.

The case was widely denounced as a miscarriage of justice, most notably in “J’accuse,” an open letter by Emile Zola published in 1898 on the front page of the newspaper L’Aurore.


Chagall Lithograph Sells for $314,000 in Unique Hi-Tech Auction

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A Marc Chagall work from 1981, “Bouquet in a Green Vase”, was sold at the Tel Aviv Hilton for $314,000 in an auction that was held simultaneously in several countries, Globes reported Monday.

The Matsart auction house brought more than $800,000 in the sales, which included a 1959 work by Mané Katz, “Four Musicians”, that was sold for $206,500, and an untitled work from 1982 by Yaakov Agam, sold for $170,000.was established by the collaboration between the sales points and the auction house’s sophisticated technology that made it possible to hold simultaneous auctions.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/chagall-lithograph-sells-for-314000-in-unique-hi-tech-auction/2013/02/25/

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