Auction 92 Part 2 Rare and Important Manuscripts and Items of the Gross Family Collection

Siddur in Large, Elaborate Silver Binding – Engagement Gift from a Groom to his Bride – The Netherlands / Germany, 1794

Opening: $30,000
Estimate: $35,000 - $45,000
Sold for: $40,000
Including buyer's premium

Year-round siddur following Ashkenazi rite, with Parashiot and Pirkei Avot, Shir HaYichud, Tehillim and supplications; intended for women. Amsterdam: Yochanan Levi Rofe and his brother-in-law Baruch, 1791. Includes Yiddish translation under original text; with separate title pages for Tehillim and supplications. Bound in a large, elaborate silver binding, with dedicatory inscriptions.
Paper, card and velvet; silver (unmarked), repoussé, pierced and engraved.
Siddur in elegant binding, given as a gift from the groom Yekutiel son of Azriel Segal to his fiancée Yeta daughter of Shimshon, after their betrothal. The binding is richly decorated with repoussé and openwork. The deep red velvet lining, which shows through the openwork, highlights the splendor and artistic quality of this piece.
Both sides of the binding bear an identical design – foliate lattice, the center occupied by a pair of rampant lions, langued, holding an intricately framed medallion, surmounted with a crown. The name of the bride is engraved on the front medallion: "Yeta daughter of Shimshon", while the name of the groom is engraved on the back medallion: "Yekutiel son of R. Azriel Segal, 5554 [1794]". The spine is also ornately decorated with foliate lattice. A pair of ornamented clasps and catches. Gilt edges, with gauffering in the corners.
Handwritten inscriptions on the back endpaper, documenting the birth of four children between 1799-1805: Naftali Hertz, Nechemia, Miriam and Esther. The names and dates of birth are inscribed in Hebrew; three of them are also inscribed in German, with the addition of the surname Cusel. The name Cusel may represent the family's origin from the Kusel district or the German town of Kusel (spelled Cusel until 1865) in Rhineland-Palatinate, a state which was home to several prominent communities of Ashkenazic Jews in the Middle Ages (including Mainz, Worms and Speyer). It is, however, also likely that Cusel represents the father's name – Yekutiel (in Ashkenazic pronunciation), and it could be that the family lived in the Netherlands. Either way, the name Segal engraved the back board shows the family's descent from the tribe of Levi. Two additional births are recorded at the foot of the leaf, dated 1935 (Isaac Rosenblatt) and 1951 (W. M. Ross). A leaf with a handwritten Yehi Ratzon prayer (from the early 19th century) is enclosed with the siddur.

Binding: Height: 19 cm, width: 13 cm, depth: 5.5 cm. Overall good condition. Some bends.
Siddur: [1], 243, 92; 144 leaves. Overall good condition. Stains. Some tears. Leaves trimmed with minor damage to text in some places. Later endpapers.

The binding is documented in the Center for Jewish Art (CJA), item 23636.

Provenance: The Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv, 025.001.007.

Broadsides, Jewish Ceremonial Art, Parchment Manuscripts