Where to get great deals on Mezuzahs

When I first began collecting mezuzahs, I searched for mezuzahs in Judaica stores in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and New York City. However, during my recent visit to Tel Aviv in April, I found that there was only one Judaica store left on Dizengoff street, and many of the antique shops on Ben Yehuda street were closed. I had a similar experience in  New York City when I visited last fall. Many of the Judaica stores and antique shops on the lower east side and Midtown were no longer open (the exception is the fabulous Menorah Galleries).

It turns out that there are still a lot of Judaica sellers but they have adapted to the changing times and moved their businesses online.  Some of the dealers set up online stores, others sell at online auctions or set up online auctions.

For the past five years, I’ve bought most of my mezuzahs online and got most of my best deals by bidding for a mezuzah on my cell phone. Here is a summary of the online platforms that I use to build my collection:

eBay is a popular online marketplace that offers the largest online selection of mezuzahs. With over 4,300 mezuzahs available for sale at any given time, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for. While there is a specific section under “Collectibles and Judaism” for mezuzahs and scrolls, I recommend searching for the term “mezuzah” across all of eBay. By keeping an eye on newly listed mezuzahs and acting quickly, you can find some terrific deals. I bought mezuzahs from renowned artists such as Swed Studio, Arie Ofir, Peter Ein Hod, Luigi Del Monte, and Helen Burke on eBay.  One tip: The best thing about ebay is not the big selection, it’s the opportunity to find great deals at a fraction of the market price. I paid $100 for a $1000+ Arie Ofir mezuzah. Why? Because many sellers don’t know what they are selling. If you become an expert then you can use the knowledge to your advantage and identify great deals. Go to www.ebay.com

Bidspirit is an auction platform that hosts auctions by Israeli and US auction houses. By searching for “mezuzah” on Bidspirit, you can find mezuzahs available for sale from over 100 auction houses. I recommend searching in both Hebrew and English to maximize your options. Bidspirit offers access to the largest number of Israeli auction houses of any online platform. Some of my best mezuzah purchases, such as David Gumbel and Carmel Shabi pieces, were made through this platform. Buyer fees on Bidspirit are typically 20 – 25%. One Bidspirit tip: Search for mezuzah in Hebrew and English (you can use Google translate and copy and paste the Hebrew word in your search if you don’t have access to a Hebrew language keyboard). Go to www.bidspirit.co.il

Similar to Bidspirit, Invaluable and Liveauctioneers are two auction platforms that also include smaller US auction houses specializing in estate sales. These platforms offer a chance to discover unique mezuzahs, particularly when they are part of a larger lot or are unidentified. I acquired a lot of eight sterling silver Dabbah mezuzahs worth over $4000 for just $450 (including auction fees) through one of these platforms. Commissions on purchases on Invaluable and Liveauctioneers are typically around 30%. One Invaluable and LiveAuctioneers tip: Look for lots of three or more unidentified mezuzahs at estate auctions. Go to www.invaluable.com or www.liveauctioneers.com

Etsy is a platform where artists can sell their creations online. Artists like Eran Ben Yelid and Ruth Shapiro have stores on Etsy.com. There are a lot of other stores to explore but just know that many online stores have stores on this site too so not all stores here are run by artists. Go to www.etsy.com

I also want to bring three auction houses in the US that consistently offer remarkable mezuzahs to your attention:

Sotheby’s the famous auction house founded in 1744 holds several high end auction sales every year. I often see high-end mezuzahs, including those crafted by the esteemed artist Ilya Schor are often for sale. I am a voyeur here. Go to: www.sothebys.com

Appel is an auction house that features a wide range of collectible mezuzahs from both Israeli and American artists. Meir Appel has exquisite taste and a great network of suppliers. I always go through his online auction catalogs with a fine tooth comb and have bought from him many times. Go to www.appelauction.com

J. Greenstein & co is an amazing auction house known for its Judaica auctions. Greenstein often carries mezuzahs by the finest artists including Ilya Schor and Ludwig Wolpert and top Israeli artists like Carmel Shabi and Rafi Landau. Jonathan Greenstein is one of the world’s experts on Judaica and has an extensive set of relationships with both American and Israeli artists. Greenstein is one of my “musts”. I have bought from them many times. Go to : www.jgreenstein.com

I also buy from US auction houses that sell estates. I have found that some of them sell lots of unidentified mezuzahs which allows me to use my knowledge to find great deals. I love those lots. Here are a few auction houses that I have bought from in the past year:

  • Roland Auction
  • Bruce Kodner Auctions
  • Everard Auctions
  • Potomack Auction company

Buying Direct from Artists:

I love to interact with artists and love getting an email that says “your mezuzah is ready”.  Here is a listing of artists that sell online:

Online Stores:

Here are some galleries that sell the artists I collect:

Jewish Museum of New York carries Sari Srulovitch (shopthejewishmuseum.org)

Sweetheart Gallery carries Sherri Cohen (sweetheartgallery.com)

Aesthetic Sense carries Ruth Shapiro (theaestheticsense.com)

A word about buying scrolls or klafs

I buy new kosher scrolls (klafs) for each of my mezuzah cases. When I buy from artists, I ask them to include a scroll with the case because they buy scrolls that fit their cases. When I buy the mezuzah cases at auction, I buy new kosher scrolls for them. You can order new kosher mezuzah scrolls online. I believe that we need to support our scribes and this is one way I do it

Here are some tips that I find helpful in my searches:

  1. Check eBay out daily and bid decisively and quickly. Don’t be afraid to make an offer.
  2. Use Bidspirit to track the Israel market especially Kedem, Ishtar and Bidder as well as Greenstein and Appel in the US.
  3. Use Invaluable or LiveAuctioneers to find mezuzahs at estate auction houses such as Roland, Potomack, Akiba, Kodner and Everard.

The most expensive Mezuzah sold at Auction

The most expensive mezuzah sold at auction was made by the artist Ilya Schor in 1956. It is over 9 inches tall, made of Sterling silver, and was dedicated by Schor to Earl and Irene Morse. It sold at Sotheby’s on June 5, 2019 (lot 16) for over $56,000. For more information, go to www.sothebys.com and search on mezuzah.

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