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Sotheby's Sale of Property from the Delmonico Collection of Important Judaica Achieves $7,721,438

NEW YORK, NY.- Today in New York, before a buoyant room of collectors who had travelled from around the world, Sotheby’s sale of Property from the Delmonico Collection of Important Judaica achieved $7,721,438, surpassing the presale estimate of $4.1 / 5.5 million*. The sale was 71% sold by lot and 92% sold by value.

David Redden, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman and the sale’s auctioneer said, “This is an extremely active collecting area with dedicated collectors who found an extraordinary buying opportunity in this sale, and took full advantage of it, resulting in strong prices. Today’s sale showed that even in financially complicated times, a great collection will achieve exceptional prices.”

The sale’s top price was achieved by an extremely rare and exquisite fifteenth century illuminated Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, on vellum completed by Levi ben Aaron Halfan in Florence, 1489, which sold for $362,500 (lot 203, est. $150/200,000).

A series of forty lots from the Babylonian Talmud printed in Venice by Daniel Bomberg, eleven of which derived from the only known copy printed on blue paper, more than doubled the high estimate to achieve $2.25 million (lots 131-170, est. $718/977,000). After spirited bidding, all eleven lots of Bomberg’s Talmud printed on blue paper were purchased by a private collector, and will remain assembled as a collection. Chief among these was four tractates printed on blue paper, which brought $230,500 against a presale estimate of $40/60,000 (lot 141). Two tractates on blue paper brought $206,500 (lot 140, est. $50/70,000), and a single tractate on blue paper soared to $194,500 (lot 134, est. $30/40,000).

Collectors also enthusiastically competed for the largest selection of Hebrew incunabula, or early printings, to come for sale in years, yielding strong prices for the first complete edition of the entire Mishnah, with the commentary of Maimonides, completed in Naples, 1492, which achieved $254,500 (lot 52, est. $120/140,000); Nahmanides’ Perush ha-Torah (Commentary on the Pentateuch), Rome, 1469-73, which totaled $338,500 (lot 54, est. $160/180,000); and the Teshuvot She’elot (Answers and Questions) by Solomon ben Abraham ibn Adret, Rome, 1469-73, which brought $302,500 (lot 34, est. $120/140,000).

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