Auction 88 - Part I - Books, Manuscripts, Rabbinical Letters, Ceremonial Art

Torah Crown – France, 19th Century

Opening: $2,000
Sold for: $3,250
Including buyer's premium

Torah crown. France (Alsace?), 19th century (after 1838).
Silver, cast and die-stamped (marked with French hallmarks: tiny mark in form of crab; unidentified initials within diamond); gilt; velvet.
The crown, reminiscent in form of Eastern-European Torah crowns, was presumably made for an Ashkenazi community in France (possibly Alsace; there is a somewhat similar crown in the Colmar synagogue in Alsace).
The circlet of the crown is decorated with foliate designs and round and oval knops, with clover-shaped ornaments pointing upwards. Ten half-arches connect the circlet and the finial, designed as a flattened globe topped with a flame-shaped ornament. Two oval openings at the upper part of the crown, and two thin silver shafts with rings inside – for the Torah rollers. Thick, brownish-red velvet inlay.
Diameter of circlet: 19.5-21 cm, maximum diameter: 27 cm, height: 27 cm. Fair-good condition. Minor bends and breaks. Finial bent and several half-arches broken or bent at joint with finial. Tears and wear to velvet inlay.

Ceremonial Objects from the Collection of an Algerian Family

Algerian Jewry, one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities in Islamic countries, numbered at its peak some 130,000 Jews, most of whom left when Algeria gained its independence in 1962. The vast majority of Algerian Jews immigrated to France, while others moved to Israel.

items 288-296 originate from the private collection of a rabbinic family in Western Algeria. Some of the items were found abandoned in Algerian synagogues following the mass exodus of its Jews, and were collected by the members of this family, whose descendants immigrated to France, and later to Israel.

Silver Hallmarks in French Algeria
Algeria, which was under French control from 1830 to 1962, became subject to French laws of silver crafting and silver hallmarks from 1838 (see: Tardy, pp. 29-30; 197-200).
Some of the silver items in the present collection bear French hallmarks, which for the most part appear to have been stamped by Algerian silversmiths or assayers in Algeria, already in the 19th century. Nonetheless, some items seem to have been produced in France, and stamped there before their import to Algeria.
The strong French connection along with the cultural diversity of Algerian Jewry (which comprises Jewish immigrants from Spain, Morocco, Italy and France), are well reflected in the present items, to the point that it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint whether, for instance, an item was produced in the workshop of a Jewish silversmith from Algeria, from Spanish Morocco, from the community of Tétouan Jews living in Oran (Algeria), from Libya or from France. Likewise, in some cases it is difficult to discern conclusively whether a specific item was marked before it was brought from France to Algeria during the 19th or early 20th century, after it was brought into Algeria, or perhaps decades later, when it was brought back to France during the 1960s.

We are grateful to Chaya Benjamin and Prof. Shalom Sabar for their assistance in cataloguing these items.

PLEASE NOTE: Item descriptions were shortened in translation. For further information, please refer to Hebrew text.

Jewish Ceremonial Art
Jewish Ceremonial Art