Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Auction Catalog

Kestenbaum & Co.'s latest auction catalog for its auction on April 3, 2008, is available online. The auction includes a collection of important bibliography catalogs including, Koheleth David, the catalog of R. David Oppenheimer's books that eventually went to the Bodleian Libary; Ohel Avraham, catalog of R. Avraham Merzbacher, this catalog was complied by R. Raphael Nathan Nata Rabinowich the author of Dikdukei Soferim; Likutei Shoshanim, the catalog of R. Mattisyahu Straschun's library (this library in part went to YIVO and part to Hecheil Shlomo, Hecheil Shlomo recently sold this library and YIVO has sold parts of the library as well); Koheles Moshe, the catalog of St. Petersberg library compiled by Shmuel Wiener considered one of the best bibliography catalogs (unfortunately Wiener never completed the catalog).

Another book of interest is Johann Jakob Schudt's Judisher Merkwurdigkeiten (Jewish Curiosities) (lot 110). This book contains much in the way of providing evidence of what Jewish practice was in the 18th century. R. Goldhaver in his comprehensive article on the origins and spread of custom of kabbalat Shabbat uses Schudt as Schudt is the earliest mention of some Kabbalat Shabbat customs.

Some of the books here belong to important personages. For example, an edition of the Shabbthai Sofer siddur belonging to Sir David Solomons, the first Jewish Sheriff of London and the Lord Mayor of London, he was also one of the first Jews to serve in the British House of Commons. (lot 218). There is a book on agunah that was Chaim Heller's copy. (lot 245) R. Shlomo Dubno's copy of Meskhtat Derekh Erets. (lot 265) And, then there is R. Nathan Adler of Frankfort's copy of Adugath Mordehai. (lot 4)

A few noteworthy first editions also appear in the catalog. First, there is a sixteenth century copy of a machzor according to the Karite rite. (lot 210) This is a very rare machzor, with the only complete copy in the Bodleian Library. Second, there are a few first editions of the Gra's works including Tospehta Zeraim, Shenoth Eliyahu, Torat Kohanim, and Tikkunei HaZohar. (lots 96-99) There is also the first edition of R. Emden's She'elot Ya'avetz. (lot 100)

The auction includes the Munich-Heidelberg Talmud that was printed with the help of the United States Army after the Holocaust. (lot 171) A miniature Tehillim that is extremely rare. (lot 55). And, an important edition of Rashi's commentary on the Torah - it is a Spanish or Sephardic "version" that is distinct from the German/French and Italian versions. (lot 53)
Two manuscripts of interest. A portion of the Hatam Sofer's commentary to the Torah written in his own hand. (lot 348). Second, is a manuscript of R. Saul Morteira's work on the Truth of the Law of Moses. The manuscript includes information on the Jews of Recife.


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