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New York - Sweeping Judaica Collection On View at Sotheby's Prior to Highly Anticipated Auction (photo-video)

Published on: April 28, 2013 12:48 PM
Last updated on: April 28, 2013 01:19 PM
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New York - A massive Judaica collection will be up for sale this Monday at Sotheby’s in Manhattan featuring manuscripts, silver, textile, fine art and decorative objects from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, spanning a time period of seven centuries.

The Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection is described by the renowned auction house as “the most significant collection to be offered at auction in half a century”, offering “exceptional and rare objects.”  The auction, which is comprised of 386 lots, is expected to bring in more than $11 million.

The 72 year old Steinhardt has had a career as a hedge fund manager, investor, financier, newspaper publisher, author and the father of three.  Both he and his wife Judy are well known philanthropists who are said to have donated over $125 million to tzedaka.

In fact, it was Steinhardt’s interest in philanthropy that gave rise to his renowned Judaica collection, which began with a group of antique pushkas purchased in Israel.  In addition to tzedaka boxes, Steinhardt began collecting antiquities, books and religious objects dating as far back as the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.


The centerpiece of the Steinhardt Collection is the second volume of an illuminated 15th century manuscript of the Rambam’s Mishne Torah.  Listed in the auction catalog as lot 55, the Northern Italian manuscript is dated at the year 1457 and is estimated to be worth between $4.5 to $6 million.  Volume one of the manuscript is owned by the Vatican.

“It is one of the greatest illustrated manuscripts of the Renaissance,” Sharon Mintz, senior consultant for Judaica at Sotheby’s told VIN News.

Another fascinating item in the auction catalog is lot 178, an illustrated micrographic Sefiras Haomer calendar, drawn in Germany by Dov Margolioth in 1830 and estimated to be worth between $50,000 to $70,000.  Much of the artwork in the calendar is comprised of miniscule letters containing the words of Megillos Esther, Rus, Eicha and Shir Hashirim.  A tree laden with apples features the words for counting each day of the Omer.

The Steinhardt Collection consists of over 400 pieces in a wide range of prices, with some as low as $200.  The exhibition continues through Sunday and Mrs. Mintz invites the public to come to Sotheby’s to view this unique collection.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a collection of this breadth and depth from a single owner,” said Mrs. Mintz.

The auction will take place in two parts on Monday, with lots 1 to 181to be auctioned off at 10 AM, followed by lots 182 through 386 at 2 PM and Sotheby’s reports that there has already been a high level of interest in the Steinhardt Collection.

“This isn’t just an auction, it is a cultural experience, an unparalleled opportunity to see every aspect of Jewish life from across the centuries,” said Mrs. Mintz.

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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »


 Apr 28, 2013 at 05:36 PM getitright Says:

A couple years back the Val-Madonna collection was shown at sothebys and they stated then it was the largest ever.. it was manuscript only .

Does anyone know if that collection was sold found a home?


 Apr 28, 2013 at 10:14 PM k9hora Says:

there are 2 other megillos by the same scribe that i know of. one is on display at the jerusalem museum and has illustrations of women on the margins. the other one is not illustrated and is in the very small judaic museum of kingston jamaica. i had that one with me for a while and i was zocheh to identify its origin and approx date. i am a sofer not an antiique expert.


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