Photo Credit: Tsadik Kaplan

Dear Tsadik,

We received this some years ago from a cousin. She didn’t know what it was, but since it had something to do with Pesach, she thought we would appreciate it. My husband and I still are not sure the purpose of the box or when it was made. It seems old and possibly handmade. Any information you can find about this box is appreciated. Thanks.

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Sincerely,
Linda Wartell
Philadelphia, PA

 

Dear Linda,

The photos you provided included some which showed the inside decorated with flowers and Stars of David. This piece is instantly recognizable to me as a distinct style of tourist-ware from Iran. Hand-painted wooden objects with Hebrew verses that feature people and animals were apparently popular to market to tourists during the 1950s through the early 1970s. Your example dates to somewhere in that time period, likely to the latter end of it, as there is a clumsiness to how the Hebrew verse said during the reading of the Haggadah is depicted, including some poorly formed Hebrew letters. As to use, the only logical option that comes to mind is to store matzahs for the Pesach holiday. Value: $75-$125.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Hi Tsadik,

Any idea what this is? It was found while cleaning out a family storage area. It is stamped “Made in Israel.”

Larry
Teaneck. NJ

Dear Larry,

I’ve seen other examples of this piece before, and apparently the consensus is that it was used to hold napkins. Other similarly constructed Israeli pieces with wheels were made to hold one or two bottles of wine. I cannot think of any function for your piece aside from holding napkins. Unfortunately, the value is quite minimal: $5-$10.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Hi Tsadik,

I recently came into possession of a 4.5-inch paper Megillas Esther that was distributed by the Barton’s Continental Chocolate Company. At the very end of the text a copyright date of 1953 is printed. The scroll contains both the Hebrew text and the English translation. The scroll is in a round cardboard cylinder with the label “Book of Esther” in English, and below it “Megillas Esther” in Hebrew. Going around the whole cylinder is “Happy Purim” and at the very bottom are the words “Barton’s Bonbonaire.”

Since this Megillas Esther is at least 69 years old, does it have any antique or monetary value? It is in very good condition considering its age. Attached are several photos of the megillah and case. Thank you in advance for your opinion.

Herman Lurie
Boynton Beach, FL

 

Dear Herman,

Indeed, your Esther scroll with case dates to 1953. It is unclear if Barton’s Chocolate Company kept re-releasing this Esther scroll every Purim throughout the 1950s and 60s with the same copyright date; regardless, it is assumed that this piece does date to 1953.

For this item, collectors want the case to be in beautiful condition – like new – and the scroll should be in excellent condition as well, with at most one or two very small tears. While your case appears to be in great condition, the photos you sent me of the scroll show numerous tears. Taking all this into consideration, the value of your item is about $45.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Dear Tsadik,

This copper washing laver is about 5 1/2 inches high and about 6 inches in diameter at the top. It weighs over 2 lbs. Any ideas of age, origin, and value?

Andrew Perkal
Queens, NY

Dear Andrew,

Your laver was made in Poland, Ukraine, or Russia, about 100-125 years ago. This item was 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 about $50.

Had your laver never been cleaned and retained a warm brown patina, the value would 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.

Best,
Tsadik

 

 

Dear Tsadik,

These are my Bubbie’s Shabbos licht. The material seems like a base metal. She was married in about the year 1900 in Tykocin, Poland.

Jacob Yablok
New York

 

Dear Jacob,

As you can see from the photos you sent me, your candlesticks have hallmarks on the edge in Polish, which include the words “Warszawa,” “Norblin,” and “Galw.” Your candlesticks, made of brass, hail from Warsaw, Poland, were made by the Norblin factory, and date to the period of between 1890 and 1910. “Galw” is from the Polish word “Galwanizacja,” meaning galvanization, which is another word for plated, stating that your candlesticks were originally silver-plated when made.

Although your candlesticks are pretty and in perfect condition, the value I am going to give you is modest, for a few 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 reason is that the Jewish buying public at large is not very interested in purchasing brass candlesticks unless the price is quite low. A typical pair of Warsaw brass candlesticks has a value in today’s market of $50-$75. Your candlesticks, while typical and of the most often found design, have a few things going for them. Like I mentioned, they appear to be in perfect condition, you have the original bobeches (candle-dripping liners), and there is a pleasant patina that has developed over many years (don’t polish them!). Value: $75-$100.

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.