Jerusalem auction house sets record with $2 million in Judaica sales

This past Tuesday’s international Judaica auction in Jerusalem spurred record-breaking sales with over $2 million worth of valuables sold. Online bidding enabled collectors from around the world to take part in the sale, driving up prices and demonstrating that Jewish antiquities are the hottest new investment.
A pair of Torah finials, created by Jewish silversmith Abraham Lopes de Oliveyra in London in 1740, sold for $196,800.

Jewish auction houses have long attracted serious collectors. They are now attracting a growing number of one-time collectors in part thanks to online bidding. These new buyers and investors are looking to establish auction houses to guide them in the purchasing process. As Meron Eren, CEO Kedem Auction House explained, “Regular collectors understand the relative value of items, but one-time collectors can be wary that they might inadvertently over pay, especially if they are not familiar with the auction process.”

Kedem Auction House, which hosted last Tuesday’s sale, provides all potential purchasers with a clear explanation of where every artifact originated to help buyers feel secure in their investment. Kedem worked with IMP Media to give buyers around the world the opportunity to take part in this record-breaking auction.

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Many items sold for sums far beyond the asking price. Amongst the items which attracted record-breaking attention included:

A copy of a handwritten letter from the Cairo Geniza that was estimated to be sold between $50-100k, was actually sold for $135,300.  This letter is one of the most important documents removed from the Cairo Geniza. It contains unique historical documentation of the conquest of the Almohad Islamic movement in North Africa and in Southern Spain, as well as the ensuing destruction of the local Jewish communities.

A handwritten leaf of medicinal cures penned by the sage, Rabbi Chaim Vital, was estimated to be sold for maximum $20k and sold for $46,740.

Another item that was expected to be sold for about $20k was a handwritten volume of the Arizal’s kabbalah that belonged to the revered Chatam Sofer, who studied it and added several glosses in his own handwriting. The final sale price was $104,550.


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