Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2016 Issue

A Millennium of Jewish Culture from Shapero Rare Books

A thousand years of Jewish culture.

Shapero Rare Books has released a catalogue of A Millennium of Jewish Culture. Perhaps we could call this "recent" Jewish culture since it only includes material from the last thousand years. Numerous subjects and types of material are covered in this catalogue, so here we go: Prayer Books, Bibles & Pentateuchs, Haggadot, Esther Scrolls, Ketubot (marriage contracts), Cookery & Kashrut, Traditions & Rituals, Kabbalah, Medicine, History Philosophy & Poetry – Western Europe & England, History & Poetry – Eastern Europe & Russia, Zionism, British Mandate, State of Israel, Photography, Signed Portraits, Art, and Holy Land Pilgrimage & Maps. Naturally, the religious material relates to times even more distant than a thousand years ago, while European cultural aspects and items related to Israel refer to the last century or so. Here are a few samples of the items to be found in this thoroughly described and illustrated catalogue of Jewish culture.

 

We start with a book of prayers from 1687, Me'ah Berachoth – Orden de Bendiciones, edited by Benjamin Godines. It contains blessings for the entire year in accordance with the Sephardic tradition. It was published in Amsterdam specifically for Marrano refugees. These were Jews from Spain and Portugal forced to convert to Christianity on pain of death. It is written in both Hebrew and Spanish, with an introduction in Portuguese. Among prayers for the sick is a sad, today incomprehensible one specific to the Marranos' past – a prayer for martyrs burned at the stake by the Inquisition. Item 1. Priced at £6,750 (British pounds, or approximately $8,331 U.S.).

 

It has long been a debate, or balancing act, among Jewish communities in the various lands in which they called home, to what extent they should use Hebrew in their rituals and how much the language of their homelands, more likely to be better understood by most of their people. Item 17 was a breakthrough for the community in England: The Passover Haggadah Containing the Ceremonies and Prayers which are used and read by all families in all houses of the Israelites... The prayers may have been used by all families but not the language. This was the first Haggadah in the English language, translated and published by Alexander Alexander in London in 1770. A Haggadah is a book with the prayers and directions for the Passover Seder, a ritual going back thousands of years to celebrate the Jews Exodus from Egypt. £35,000 (US $43,198).

 

Item 4 is Seder HaTephilloth mi'Kol HaShanah Kemihog-polin (all year prayer book according to Polish custom). This is a siddur, or Jewish prayer book for all occasions throughout the year. A siddur is a prayer book for daily use, the term meaning order or arrangement, guiding readers through daily activities. This siddur was printed in Amsterdam in 1791, and comes in a luxurious red velvet binding with gilt metal clasps and ornaments. It was a wedding gift to Blanche Rebecca Adler, the granddaughter of the Chief Rabbi of Britain, who was married on July 22, 1891. £3,950 (US $4,875).

 

Maimonides was a great scholar of the 12th century. Born in what is today Spain, he later made his way to Egypt when a change in Moslem rulers made life dangerous for Jews. In Egypt, he became a leader of the Jewish community and wrote his great treatises on Jewish law. His work remains enormously influential today. However, his day job was a doctor, and he became court physician to Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria, who defeated the Crusaders. After Saladin's death, Maimonides continued in that role to his son and successor. It was at this time, in 1198, that he wrote De regimine sanitatis ad soldanum babyloniae (regimen of health for the Sultan of Babylon). As with his religious and ethical writings, his medical books were very influential for a long time. His medical books used both existing medical theories and his own experiences. Maimonides recognized the importance of the connection between mind and body, that mental well-being was important to physical health. The respect for his medical work and how long it remained influential can be seen by this printed edition of his work almost two centuries later. He wrote the book in Arabic, but it was later translated to Hebrew and then to Latin. This edition was published by a Dominican nunnery in Florence circa 1481. Item 40. £35,000 (US $43,198).

 

Item 52 is a look at a world that no longer exists: Di Farshvundene Velt (the vanished world). It was edited by Raphael Abramovitch and published in 1947. This book is a compilation of photographs of Eastern European Jewish life in the 1920's and 1930's, before most of the communities were wiped out by the Nazis. It is divided into two sections, Jewish cities and Jewish people. The photographs were culled from thousands of postcards, personal family photographs, and the archives of the Daily Forward. It is likely the best look you will find at these once thriving communities. Abramovitch was a a Russian socialist, part of the Menshevik faction that lost out to the Bolsheviks. He was forced to flee Russia for Berlin, forced to flee Berlin for France when the Nazis came to power, and forced to flee to America after the Nazis invaded France. He became a steadfast opponent of both the Nazis and the Soviets. £750 (US $925).

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 207 493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • ALDE, May 28: KIPLING (RUDYARD). Le Livre de la Jungle. – Le IIe livre de la Jungle. Paris, Sagittaire, Simon Kra, 1924-1925. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: NOAILLES (ANNA DE). Les Climats. Paris, Société du Livre contemporain, 1924. €50,000 to €60,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MILTON (JOHN). Paradis perdu. Quatrième chant. S.l., Les Bibliophiles de l'Automobile-Club de France, 1974. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LEBEDEV (VLADIMIR). Russian Placards - Placard Russe 1917-1922. Saint-Petersbourg, Sterletz, 1923. €1,000 to €1,200.
    ALDE, May 28: MARDRUS (JOSEPH-CHARLES). Histoire charmante de l'adolescente sucre d'amour. Paris, F.-L. Schmied, 1927. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: TABLEAUX DE PARIS. Paris, Émile-Paul Frères, 1927. €2,000 to €3,000.
    ALDE, May 28: LA FONTAINE (JEAN DE). Les Fables illustrées par Paul Jouve. S.l. [Lausanne], Gonin & Cie, 1929. €4,000 to €5,000.
    ALDE, May 28: SARTRE (JEAN-PAUL). Vingt-deux dessins sur le thème du désir. Paris, Fernand Mourlot, 1961. €1,500 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: [BRAQUE (GEORGES)]. 13 mai 1962. Alès, PAB, 1962. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MIRÓ (JOAN). Je travaille comme un jardinier. Avant-propos d'Yvon Taillandier. Paris, Société intenationale d'art XXe siècle, 1963. €1,000 to €2,000.
    ALDE, May 28: MAGNAN (JEAN-MARIE). Taureaux. Paris, Michèle Trinckvel, 1965. €3,000 to €4,000.
    ALDE, May 28: PICASSO (PABLO). Dans l'atelier de Picasso. 1960. €15,000 to €20,000.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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