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Lot 122: Large Collection of Books, Booklets and Illustrated Calendars - Bombay (India) Printings - 19th and 20th Centuries - R. David Sassoon Collection

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

November 15, 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

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Description: Large varied collection of printed matter, books and booklets and calendars printed in Bombay, India, encompassing an entire century, from the beginning of Hebrew printings in Bombay in 1840, until the mid-20th century. Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic and Marathi. A collection of such a large scope is rare. It is composed of more than 120 items: books, booklets, single leaves and calendars. The collection presents the history of the Hebrew printing in Bombay, from the beginning in 1840, and contains almost half the books printed in Bombay and dozens of calendars printed there. It contains a variety of books printed for the Bene Israel community of Bombay and of its Baghdad community. Some are printed by lithography. The source of this collection is in the library of the renowned collector R. David Sassoon, which is the primary basis for the bibliography record of Calcutta printings, prepared by the researcher and bibliographer Avraham Ya'ari in his book Hebrew Printing in the East (Vol. 2, Jerusalem 1940, Bombay). The collection contains many items which do not appear in the Ya'ari list. The collection is composed of 59 books and pamphlets, 5 leaves and brochures and about 60 calendars in various formats (most are broadsides for hanging), in Hebrew, English and Marathi. Some are illustrated. Among the items: · Machzor for days of Selichot and hatarat nedarim (annulling vows). Bombay, [1841]. Lithograph. The first Hebrew book printed in Bombay. Ya'ari, no. 90. · Passover Haggadah with Arabic Serach [Targum]. Bombay, [c. 1856]. Lithograph. Ya'ari no. 7. · Chanoch LaNa'ar. Bombay, [c. 1856]. Lithograph. Ya'ari, no. 9. · Sefer HaPizmonim. Bombay, [1856]. Lithograph on blue and bluish paper. Ya'ari, no 11. · Serach Ruth. [Bombay, 1859]. The first book printed in a regular printing press (using movable type) in Bombay. Ya'ari no. 15. · "And on your days of joy and festivals" - Lithograph leaf. [c. 1880]. Ya'ari, no. 23. · "Prayer for Jews in Russia", "Prayer for a public fast day… for the distress of our brethren in Russia…". Bombay, [1882]. Ya'ari no. 104. · "Prayer for all to pray together, all those who are wards of the British government". Bombay, [1914]. Ya'ari, no. 83. · Ya'arat HaDvash, Otzar HaShorashim V'Aruch, by Rabbi Yechezkel Ya'akov Rachamim. Bombay, 1890. The entire composition Shemot HaTsaddikim by Rabbi Natan of Breslov appears at the beginning of the book. Ya'ari, no. 64. · Tefillat HaChodesh - The Daily Prayers, siddur according to Sephardi tradition, translated into Marathi. Bombay, 1934 (Ya'ari, no. 142). Elaborate copy, with gilt embossment on the binding: "Rachel, wife of David Ezra…Calcutta". · And more. The Hebrew printing press in Bombay was established following the development of two Jewish communities in the city: The religious revival of the Jewish Bene Israel community, and the development of the community of Baghdadis led by R. David Sassoon. The books printed in the city can be divided into those printed for Bene Israel and those printed for the Baghdad community. The first four books printed in Bombay during 1841-1853, were printed by Cochin Jews who settled in the city and all were intended for the Bene Israel community. In 1855, the Beit David Society of Baghdad Jews also began to print books. For many years, only the lithograph technique was used in Bombay. However, in 1859, an attempt was made to establish a letterpress printing press by Binyamin Yitzchak Ashkenazi, who used locally-cut or poured movable type to print the book Serach Ruth in the Arabic language, but this is the only letterpress printed book and Bombay remained without a printing press for another 22 years until 1882. From 1882, several printing presses were founded in Bombay, primarily The Bombay Education Society's Press in which both the Bene Israel books and the Baghdadi books were printed (established in 1882), The Anglo-Jewish and Vernacular Press (founded in 1884), the Hebrew and English Press founded by Yechezkel Shem Tov David (founded in 1887) and the printing press of Yehuda David Ashkenazi and his son (founded in 1900). 56 books (in 59 volumes) and 5 single leaves, 61 calendars and 3 cards with prayer timetables. Size and condition vary. Some with damages or lacking leaves. Some have signatures and ownership inscriptions. A detailed list is available upon request. Provenance: Sassoon family collection.

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