Recent purchases

I have a lot of fun searching for new mezuzah cases to add to my collection.  I love to work directly with artists but I also look for mezuzahs at auction. I’m able to search thousands of auctions around the world,  24 hours a day, seven days a week without leaving my house. I monitor activity on online auction websites such as Bidspirit, eBay, LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable through automated online searches that I have set up. 

There are about 5000 mezuzahs for sale on these sites at any time and new mezuzahs are listed every day. When a mezuzah is listed that meets my criteria, I get an alert. And I get alerts every day from auction houses all over the world.  There are thousands of auction houses around the world about less than 25 specialize in Judaica objects. Kedem and Ishtar in Israel and Appel, Kestenbaum and Greenstein are some names that come to mind as specialists in Judaica objects. Many mezuzahs are listed by auction houses that do not have the expertise to evaluate them properly. That creates a buying opportunity for me.

I can use my knowledge and research skills to identify mezuzah cases, their makers and their value. Most auction listings do not list the maker of the mezuzah and the sellers guess at a price or price range. They are good at identifying mass produced mezuzahs but are less successful with unique works.

You can learn how to do this too. Start by studying the artists in the artist directory and pick a few you like. Then, set up searches for those artists.

I’d like to share some of my best finds over the past four months. I am really excited about my acquisition of a set of twelve mezuzah cases (one for each of the Jewish tribes) made by Chaya Magal. Chaya was one of the first women ceramic artists in the new State of Israel and she and her husband were one of the founders of the Ein Hod artist colony in the 1950s. This set belongs in a museum in Israel. 

Other find include a Prismatic mezuzah by Luigi del Monte, a bronze by Israeli sculptor Haim Hendin, a Swed mezuzah, and a mezuzah by S Lowy (Jerusalem). 

Here’s some more detail on my recent acquisitions:

A Luigi Del Monte Prismatic mezuzah made in 1999 is shown below. This mezuzah is in MOMA in New York and the Israel museum.This is a “must have” mezuzah for any serious mezuzah collector. I paid $100 for it plus auction costs and shipping on LiveAuctioneers. 

Beautiful cast bronze mezuzah stamped LOWY S Jerusalem on the back. The mezuzah is really beautiful. I have not been able to find any information on this artist. If you have information on the artist, please contact me. I’d love to learn more about them. 

I bought a stunning mezuzah from the famous Swed Workshop in Jerusalem, Israel for $200 on eBay. This mezuzah was made in a series of 500 which is high production number for a work of this fine quality. What can I say? How do you describe a Rolls Royce?

A bronze cast mezuzah by the Israeli sculptor, Haim Hendin. Circa 1975. I paid $10 for this mezuzah at an auction house in Israel. The same mezuzah is available online for over $300.

A set of the twelve tribes mezuzah cases by Chaya Magal of Ein Hod. For more information, look her up in the artist directory.

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