web analytics
January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘auction’

Anonymous Tip Helps Jewish Dealer’s Estate Recover Two Dutch Masters from German Auction

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Max Stern Foundation, overseeing Jewish art dealer Max Stern’s estate for his heirs, expects to take possession of two paintings by Dutch old masters Jan Porcellis and Willem Buytewech the Younger, The Art Newspaper reported Monday.

Stern was forced by the Nazi Chamber of Fine Arts in September 1937 to close his business, because all Jewish citizens had been forbidden from selling art. In November, Stern was forced to auction off a large segment of the Stern Gallery by order of the Nazi government. These artworks were sold in one of Germany’s oldest auction houses, Kunsthaus Lempertz. They went on the block by their lot number, Auktion 392. Not all the pieces were sold, and Stern placed those that remained in storage with shipping agent Josef Roggendorf. Roggendorf stored the artwork close to the Düsseldorf gallery, but eventually it was confiscated by the Nazis.

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Stern then spent several years trying to track down his 28 confiscated paintings. He advertised in the German art magazine Die Weltkunst, offering a reward for any information pertaining to the location of his paintings. The works Musical Party by Dirck Hals and Landscape with Figures by Salomon van Ruysdael were eventually recovered with help from the Canadian government after the war. Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch was returned in 1954. Other works were never found.

Now an anonymous tip from an art trade informer alerted the foundation that Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea by Jan Porcellis (~1584-1632) was for sale at Auktionhaus Metz in Heidelberg. Also, Germany’s Federal Crime Office identified Landscape With Goats by Willem Buytewech the Younger (1625-70) which was advertised at Auktionshaus Stahl in Hamburg.

In both cases, the sellers agreed to return the works in “amicable discussions,” according to the foundation.

The Max Stern Foundation has announced that it is developing a program with the German Friends of Hebrew University, to compensate good-faith holders of Stern’s missing paintings. Under the new program, the foundation would issue holders who turn in Stern’s works a tax-deductible donor’s certificate stating their value, for tax purposes.

“There has been a recurrence of these works being consigned by individuals in good faith,” Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs at Concordia, told The Art Newspaper. “This solution means that they can get some relief despite having a problematic artwork.”

JNi.Media

Earliest Ten Commandments Tablet On Auction in Beverly Hills

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The earliest-known stone inscription of the Ten Commandments will be offered Nov. 16, 2016 by Heritage Auctions in the Living Torah Museum Auction in Beverly Hills, California, Art Daily reported Tuesday. The tablet is the centerpiece of an offering of Bible-related historical artifacts, researched and authenticated, property of the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, NY. The opening bid on the Ten Commandments is $250,000.

David Michaels, Director of Antiquities for Heritage Auctions, suggested “there is nothing more fundamental to our shared heritage than the Ten Commandments.” The two-foot-square marble slab, inscribed in early Hebrew script, probably came from a synagogue destroyed by the Romans between 400 and 600 CE, or by the Crusaders in the 11th century, according to Michaels.

Weighing about 200 pounds, the slab of marble is chiseled with 20 lines of script, in Hebrew and Aramaic. After an introductory dedication and invocation, it lists nine of the ten commonly known Biblical Commandments from the Book of Exodus, omitting the “You will not take the name of God in vain,” and adding instead a commandment commonly cited by the Samaritan sect, calling on the worshippers to “raise up a temple” on Mount Gerizim, sacred to the Samaritans, near the city of Shechem.

Bidders are required to agree to place the object on public exhibition, as per a stipulation by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which designated the artifact a “National Treasure” of Israel.

Samaria was the home to of the Samaritan sect, known by Jewish tradition as the “converts by lions,” based on an account of their forced immigration under Assyrian rule from an unknown origin, and their embrace of the local Jewish God for protection from the lions that roamed their new habitat.

Scholars who studied the carved letters believe the stone was carved in the late Roman or Byzantine era, circa 300-500 CE, to adorn the entrance to a Samaritan synagogue.

The discovery of the Ten Commandments Stone was reported in 1947 by Y. Kaplan, the stone’s owner at the time, and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, later Israel’s second President (1952-1963). It was first uncovered in 1913 during excavations for a railroad station near Yavneh, Israel, and was acquired by an Arab who set it in the floor of his courtyard. Over many years, foot traffic wore down some of the letters at the center of the slab, although the forms are still discernible.

In 1943, the stone was acquired by Kaplan, who brought in Dr. Ben-Zvi and other scholars to study it. Antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch purchased it in the 1990s, and Rabbi Saul Deutsch obtained it for his Living Torah Museum in 2005. It has been the centerpiece of the Museum’s collection since then and was subsequently published in Biblical Archaeology Review magazine and other publications.

Although considered a “National Treasure” of Israel, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) approved its export the US in 2005 on condition that it be displayed in a public museum. “We seek either an institutional buyer or a private one who will agree to exhibit the 10 Commandments Stone so that all can see, enjoy and learn from it,” Michaels told Art Daily.

The Living Torah Museum auction will include at least 50 other artifacts from the museum’s collection, including a nine-spouted ceramic oil lamp dated to the first century CE that is regarded by some experts as the earliest known first Hanukkah menorah, Michaels said.

JNi.Media

Einstein’s Letter to his Son on Solving Unified Field Theory on Auction

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

A letter written around 1929 by Albert Einstein to his son Eduard (nicknamed “Tetel”), discussing his progress in solving the Unified Field Theory will be auctioned by RR Auction in Boston, estimate yield: “$100,000+.”

According to the RRA website, in 1924, Einstein finished laying the essential groundwork the Unified Field Theory, an attempt to explain the nature of gravity in terms of the laws of electromagnetism. He published the theory in 1929. The ideas he put forward conflicted with the emerging understanding of quantum mechanics, which put him at odds with much of the physics community at large, and led to his famous falling out with fellow Nobel winner Niels Bohr. Although he continued to work on the Unified Field Theory for the rest of his life, Einstein was never able to satisfactorily master the problem, and it remains unsolved to this day.

The auctioned letter reveals Einstein as both an accomplished physicist and a caring father, making it an extraordinary historic document.

The one page letter in German, signed “Papa,” reads: “Your letter made me very happy, particularly your comment regarding the hotel. Just like you, I hate it and it is with delight that I am detecting here a deep inner kinship between us, which I treasure. It seems to me it has been so long since I have seen you and I am longing to have you around me once again.

einstein-letter-p-1

Photo credit: RR Auction

einstein-letter-p-2

Photo credit: RR Auction

“For Easter, Albert and his wife will be visiting here. You could be coming at the same time, no matter. I would make sure you have sleeping quarters at a friend’s house while Albert is here. By the way, there is still another hurdle. On the 14th of March I have to flee to escape from my 50th Birthday Party otherwise I would run the risk of perhaps getting seasick. But there is still a lot of time until Easter. At any rate, I certainly want to see you before you graduate from High School.

“I am now very happy because I finally solved to my total satisfaction, after immensely intensive work, my gravitation-electricity problem. This, in a way, concludes my life’s work—the remainder simply is bonus material. Remarkably, how through all this strenuous work I made it in good shape and am feeling quite well. I do, however, practically live the life of a recluse and follow a frugal way of live. When we see each other again, I shall try to explain to you and describe this lifestyle a bit. In no way do I expect your approval and perhaps desire to join this guild. I could not care less.

“Don’t get overwhelmed by that heavy volume of a book I sent you. One should read it in small segments, always keeping in mind that this represents chosen selections of intellectual work through the centuries, expressed by an unimportant, but decent and clear thinking human being.”

Einstein added a PS: “I have been reading with great admiration Bernard Shaw’s new book on Socialism and Capitalism. I will be sending it to you soon and strongly recommend you definitely read this remarkable book.”

Online bidding for the document began on September 27 and will conclude on October 12. Other offerings in the same auction: Albert Einstein’s letter to the widow of NY Dr. Isidore W. Held, who helped Jewish intellectuals escape from Nazi Germany; an Albert Einstein typed letter from WW2, in which he pledged “my influence” to a would-be Jewish refugee; and a vintage glossy press photo of Einstein in a candid moment, signed in the lower border.

JNi.Media

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.

JNi.Media

‘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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/haggadah-manuscript-found-in-a-garage-may-fetch-1-5-million/2013/11/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: