Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Tsadik,

This was passed down from my great-grandfather. What can you tell me?

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Esther Blisko
Brooklyn, NY

 

Dear Esther,

The design of your chanukiah is quite well known, having originated in Germany around 1890. Your model and similar ones (some more elaborate, some less so) were very popular, and were produced in such substantial numbers from 1890 through 1930 that many examples exist today.

In fact, this type of chanukiah, where eight fully-formed lions have their mouths open for the placing of the oil wicks, is so desirable that well-made copies began to be made during the 1950s and are still manufactured today.

Based on the photos you have provided, including those of the hallmarks, I am happy to tell you that you have an original, German-made model dating to the first quarter of the 20th century. Value: $3,000-$4,000.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Dear Tsadik,

Can you give me any info about these candlesticks and spice tower? They were from my wife’s grandparents who were niftar approximately 27 years ago.

Thank you very much.

Ariel Broderick
Lakewood, NJ

 

Dear Ariel,

Although your elaborately-decorated candlesticks appear to be silver, based on the photos of the hallmarks you have provided, they are in fact silver-plated brass. They hail from Warsaw, Poland, and date to the period between 1890 and 1910.

What makes your pair a bit more interesting than the typical silver-plated brass Polish candlesticks is that yours is marked “I. Szekman.” Israel Szekman was a Jewish designer and maker of both silver-plated brass and silver objects, including Judaica, such as Torah pointers, Torah shields, Torah crowns and chanukiot.

For the designs of his candlesticks, Szekman liked to incorporate grape and vine motifs, as an allusion to Shabbat kiddush. On your candlesticks, there are multiple depictions of grapes and vines at the very bottom, on the “feet.” Although your candlesticks are highly decorative, the value I am going to give you is modest, for two reasons.

The first is that in the period between 1880 and 1924, when two and a half million Jews left Eastern Europe to come here, the few items they shlepped with them were those that were most important to them. What was on the top of the list for many of these immigrants? Their Shabbos candlesticks, of course! Consequently, candlesticks like yours have survived in large numbers and are easy enough to find for purchase today.

The second is that the buying public at large is not very interested in purchasing silver-plated brass candlesticks unless the price is quite low. A typical pair of Warsaw silver-plated brass candlesticks has a value in today’s market of $100-$200. Because your candlesticks are signed by a well-known Jewish maker whose grape motif design is instantly recognizable, the value of your candlesticks is $200-$300.

If you had a pair of silver candlesticks that were hallmarked by Szekman and had grape motifs, the value would be $1,000-$2,000 (the taller the pair is, the higher the price – silver Szekman candlesticks can range from 10 inches in height to almost 16 inches).

As for the spice tower, based on the photos you’ve provided, including those of the hallmark, it is a typical silver piece (lacking the main pennant flag, however), made in New York during the 1930’s or 40’s. Value: $100-$150.

Best,
Tsadik

 

Dear Tsadik,

I just purchased this at an antique shop in Kingston, N.Y. The manager said that it “was used to make soup” and that it probably originates from France or England (I think he was making that part up). What is it worth?

Also, here is a plate from my grandparents’ house.

Moshe Gaerman
Brooklyn, NY

 

Dear Moshe,

The details the antique store manager told you about the copper laver are not correct. This object was made in Poland or Russia, about 100-125 years ago. They were produced in large numbers, for both Jew and Gentile alike. For Jews, it was used to wash hands in all the religious instances where Jews are instructed to do so. Your laver appears to be without damage; however, it has been polished, which decreases the desirability among some collectors. The value is $50 or less.

Had your laver never been cleaned and retained a warm brown patina, the value would have be $75-$100. If your laver had said patina in addition to a stamped Russian hallmark under the base, the value would be $125-$150.

On to your Passover plate, which is a very well known, if not iconic piece of English Judaica: It was manufactured by Ridgway, which was a ceramics factory in Staffordshire, England. The plate was made for sale by each of two London retailers, Bardiger and Tepper. Tepper and Bardiger were Ukrainian Jews who immigrated to London and set up shops well known for, among other things, beautiful Passover china.

In nice condition with no cracks or rim chips, your plate is worth $100-$150.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Dear Tsadik,

I inherited this pin, and I now know it is a Bezalel School-made item from Jerusalem, produced most likely by Ze’ev Raban. I see that mine is stamped “Made in Palestine” (925 silver), meaning per your recent review of another item, that it dates from the 1930s. I would like to know more about this, as it is only through your review of a later-dated one that I learned about this beautiful pin. Would you be kind enough to help me learn more about this piece?

Thank you kindly, in advance.

Donna Muenzer
Boston, MA

 

Dear Donna,

Indeed, your pin depicting Rachel with a shepherd’s crook was designed by Ze’ev Raban. The “Made in Palestine” hallmark means it could have been made during the 1930s or the 1940s, through the year 1947. After the State of Israel was created in 1948, these pins were then marked “Made in Israel.”

Due to the enormous output of these pins (they are a constant feature on Internet auction forums), the value of them has decreased dramatically over the last decade. Value: $100-$125.

If you want to know more about Ze’ev Raban and the art he designed, I recommend you purchase these books: Raban Remembered: Jerusalem’s Forgotten Master (Yeshiva University Museum, 1982); Ze’ev Raban: A Hebrew Symbolist (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2001); and Jewish Antiques: From Menorahs to Seltzer Bottles (Schiffer Publishing, 2014).

Best,
Tsadik

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Tsadik Kaplan is a collector, certified appraiser, and speaker/lecturer on the topic of Judaica. He is the author of the book “Jewish Antiques: From Menorahs to Seltzer Bottles” (Schiffer Publishing). For questions or comments – or to send pictures of your Judaica for future columns – email tsadik613@gmail.com.