AUCTION 74 | Thursday, November 09th, 2017 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters & Graphic Art

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Lot 209


Containing some 2,000 titles. The extraordinary reference and bibliographic library of the Valmadonna Trust was built up over many decades of careful, intelligent and assiduous pursuit. It comprises a wealth of books and offprints dealing with Hebrew incunables, printing, typography, codicology, manuscript illumination, Jewish art and the art of the book, library history, archives, private collections, and every other area of Judaic bibliography. Facilitating research on rare Hebraica and Jewish booklore, <<the collection contains the most important of the literature in this field from the 18th century to the early 21st century.>> Sold not subject to return.

Est: $50,000 - $70,000
Descriptive Summary of the Valmadonna Trust Reference Library. Prepared by Dr. Brad Sabin Hill. The Valmadonna Collection of Bibliographic and Reference Literature for Hebraica and Judaica is an incomparable concentrated assemblage of tools supporting research on Hebrew books, manuscripts and Jewish literature in many languages. Among the older works in this vast collection are the bibliographies and printing-historical studies in Latin by the Christian Hebraists J. C. Wolf and G. B. De Rossi, and the catalogues and literary-historical surveys by the 19th-century founder of modern Hebrew bibliography, Moritz Steinschneider. The Valmadonna library’s set of original editions of De Rossi’s works is one of the most complete in the world, and the holdings of Steinschneider’s many book-length works is similarly comprehensive. There are various editions of the bibliographic works by the wandering scholar H. J. D. Azulai. The collection encompasses the broad spectrum of Hebrew and Judaic bibliographic scholarship of the 19th and 20th centuries, works principally in German, Hebrew, English, Italian and French, the whole in uncommonly clean copies and often nicely bound or rebound. Among them are specialized studies of incunables, regional printing history, Bible and Talmud editions, manuscripts and manuscript illumination, Passover Hagadoth, scrolls, Ketuboth and many other related subjects. The catalogues and bibliographies deal with not only books and manuscripts in Hebrew but also the whole Hebrew-character literature, including Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish, as well as Samaritan. Studies on manuscripts include works by Beit-Arié, Bernheimer, Biscioni, Cassuto, Goldenthal, Harkavy, E. Hurwitz, A. Marx, Neubauer, Poznanski, Richler, C. Roth, S. Sachs, M. Schwab, Sed-Rajna and many other authorities. The bibliographies, catalogues of book collections, and printing-historical studies include works by such figures as Amzalak, Benayahu, Benjacob, Ben-Menahem, Ch. Berlin, A. Berliner, Busi, Chajes, Friedberg, L. Fuks, Gaster, Goldschmidt, Habermann, S. Halevy, Heller, Kayserling, H. Loewe, Luzzatto, Manzoni, M. Marx, Mayer, Liberman Mintz, Muneles, Offenberg, Schaeper, Schmelzer, Schrijver, Shmeruk, Tamani, Vinograd, Wachstein, Yaari and Zunz. The collection includes the most significant literature recorded by Shunami in his Bibliography of Jewish Bibliographies, and book-historical items recorded by Mayer in his Bibliography of Jewish Art. The carefully bound set of Moses Marx’s typescript History and Annals of Hebrew Printing in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries is one of three such complete print copies in the world. There are many exceptionally rare or altogether unrecorded works. Examples of fugitive items include the historic sale catalogue Antikvare hebreishe bikher published by the Soviet government (Moscow, 1930) and the little-known Heftn far yidisher kunst published by YIVO (Vilna, 1936). Numerous books, booklets and exhibition catalogues relate to state, institutional or communal libraries and private collections of Hebraica and Judaica. Among these are works by or about the collections of E. N. Adler, Almanzi, J. D. Eisenstein, N. D. Friedmann, Gaster, Ghirondi, Halberstam, F. Hirsch, Kaufmann, Kirschstein, R. N. Rabinowitz and Saraval. The bibliographic collection also holds many facsimile editions of rare books and fragments from the early centuries of printing in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Central Europe, Ottoman Greece and Turkey. The complete set of limited edition facsimiles and finely printed brochures issued by the bibliophile Soncino-Gesellschaft in Berlin during the interwar years is hardly recorded in any research library. Attention must be drawn in particular to the great many offprints of bibliographic and related studies of the last 150 years, many of them illustrated. Such offprints are rarely found in libraries but are preserved here in abundance. There are also many personal bibliographies of diverse Hebrew literary scholars, bibliographers, linguists and historians, usually produced in limited runs and privately distributed. There are a large number of booksellers’ and printers’ catalogues, some in lengthy runs and bound up together (e.g. of Kaufmann in Frankfurt and of Romm in Vilna), some lithographed, many unique or nearly unique, and most unrecorded in libraries. Antiquarian catalogues from the early 20th century include such firms as Lamm in Berlin, Schwager & Fränkel in Husiatyn, Amkraut & Freund in Przemyśl and Maggs in London. The sets of Hebraica and Judaica sale catalogues from the major auction houses, e.g. Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Kestenbaum, Judaica-Jerusalem, Kedem and Asufa, all lavishly illustrated and with detailed notes, comprise a rich resource for the descriptive bibliography of rare books, manuscripts and Jewish art, especially of Europe and the Orient. <<An altogether indispensable opportunity for a research institution wishing to obtain, in one swoop, a unique and seriously comprehensive library focused upon the History of the Hebrew Book. >>