On September 12, the New York-based auction house Kestenbaum & Company will open its fall 2006 season with a sale of intricately bound Hebrew books dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The items are from the personal library of Berlin-born Joseph Gradenwitz, who immigrated to London after fleeing Germany to escape World War II. In addition to collecting, Gradenwitz learned the craft of bookbinding, and later he personally bound and restored nearly all the books in his own collection (as well as those of some of his fellow collectors).
According to the auction house, the item set to make the most waves at the upcoming sale will be a mid-18th-century illuminated miniature manuscript on vellum, with a presale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. For more information, visit www.kestenbaum.net.