Photo Credit: Tsadik Kaplan

Dear Tsadik,

What can you tell us about our Megillah?


D. Berkovitz
Passaic, New Jersey

Dear D.,

You have quite a beautiful Esther scroll case, and I personally have been fascinated with this very type since about the year 2,000 when I first saw one, as I have held two other examples in my hand, but each were from private dealers, and not one example has never appeared at auction.

Your case is made of sterling silver with multi-colored areas of inlaid enamel. There is some debate about where and when this case was made, as it bears no hallmarks. I am quite positive that it hails from pre-1948 Israel and was made sometime during the 1930s or early 1940s, as I have seen silver Chanukah menorahs made in this Bezalel School style appear for sale both publicly and privately, and they were made and decorated in a manner identical to your scroll case.

As to value, a great deal of it is contingent on condition, specifically, the state of the enamel on the case. I do see a number of areas where there is total enamel loss. In the private market, in the current condition your case is in, it would be offered for sale somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000. I have a strong feeling that if one were ever to appear at auction, it would do very well, likely close to the $3,000 figure, and possibly surpass it.




Dear Tsadik,

I came across this brooch/pendant while going through my mother’s things after she passed. I was wondering if and hoping you could give me some information about it. It is signed “Bezalel” and “925” on the back. I have enclosed two pictures, and any info you could provide would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Amanda Gordon
Houston, Texas

Dear Amanda,

What a pretty brooch! Indeed, it is marked “Bezalel” in Hebrew on the reverse, along with “925.” Unfortunately what most collectors and even many dealers do not realize is that the word “Bezalel” became so synonymous with beauty and quality for Jerusalem-made objects during the early 20th century that apparently, starting around the 1940s, many makers of wares in Israel, notably those of silver jewelry, began stamping their pieces “Bezalel” because they knew that there was a better chance of selling them quickly, and at a higher price, to tourists who had heard to make sure to buy something by Bezalel while visiting The Holy Land.

This is the case with your brooch. Although well-made, with little red paste stones and a carnelian in the center, all in a tightly spun silver filigree setting, the way the Hebrew letters of “Bezalel” are formed and that the mark is rather lightly struck is not how a proper Bezalel hallmark appears. Only someone with many years of handling both authentic and “faked” Bezalel hallmark pieces, as I have, could even recognize the difference. Based on the quality of your piece, you have one of the early types of these pseudo-Bezalel brooches, made no later than the 1950s.

Value: $40-$60. If your brooch did have an authentic Bezalel hallmark dating to when the school was in operation during the first phase of its existence (1906-29), the value would be in the $150-$250 range.




Dear Tsadik,

What is your opinion about this cup? It’s 4 1/2” high.

Andrew Perkal
Queens, New York


Dear Andrew,

Your cup is made of thin, lightweight brass with a brightly colored scene of the “Spies with Grapes” depicted. This cup was made in Israel during the late 1960s or 1970s, and was part of a large set of different sized cups, plates, and candlesticks relating to Shabbat. They were made in very large quantities and were of the most affordable end of this type of ware made in Israel at the time. Value: $3-$5.




Dear Mr. Kaplan,

I have (two) single candlesticks that have the following markings around the lower base: “1125,” “Ehrlich” with some tiny symbol after it, and “Poland.” Please note that the one on the right is bent on the top, and in the one on the left one of the legs must have broken off because it was replaced with something else. What can you tell me about these candlesticks, and their approximate value? Thank you very much.

Elizabeth, New Jersey

Dear DG,

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, and if you look closely, you can see the brass coming through at areas that are brown in color. They hail from Warsaw, Poland, and date to the period of between 1890 and 1910.

What makes your pair a bit more interesting than the typical silver-plated brass Polish candlesticks is that yours are marked “Ehrlich.” Isaac Ehrlich 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 Chanukah menorahs. The stamped number of “1125” is the model number for this particular design of candlesticks, which are done in the neo-classical revival style of garlands, swags, and column motifs.

Although your candlesticks are highly decorative, 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 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 $50-$75, if they are in excellent condition; ones with a notable Jewish maker such as yours would increase to $100-$150. However, your candlesticks have areas of damage and repairs, including serious dents and a wholly replaced foot that does not match the other feet, which affects the value by a very large amount. In the state your candlesticks are in, the value is about $25.

If your candlesticks were made of silver and signed by Ehrlich, in excellent condition they would have a value of $800-$1,000.



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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 [email protected].