RARE 17TH-CENTURY AMSTERDAM HEBREW BIBLE FOR JEWS OF THE SPANISH DIASPORA, EXQUISITELY BOUND IN TORTOISE-SHELL AND SILVER
BIBLE. Cinco Libros de la Ley Divina Con Las Aphtarot de Todo el Año. Amsterdam: David Tartas, 1691. Small octavo, early full tortoise-shell, solid silver floral ornamental cornerpieces, hinges & clasps, all edges gilt and gauffered; pp. (1)-558, (9). $17,000.
Splendid and rare 1691 Pentateuch in Spanish, in exquisite tortoise-shell binding with silver fittings, clasps and catches, and with engraved title page. A lovely volume.
Printer David B. Abraham de Castro de Tartas (1625-1700) helped produce the earliest known Jewish newspaper in Spanish, intended for the Marrano diaspora. David Tartas was the brother of Isaac de Castro de Tartas, martyred during the Inquisition. News of Isaac's death "occasioned deep mourning" in Amsterdam, the place of this Bible's publication and the location of a large concentration of Spanish Jews (Encyclopedia Judaica V: 247, II: 613). Delicately engraved frontispieces for both the Pentateuch and Haftarah, which are contained in this volume, contribute to a wonderful unity of form in design and typography. The engraved floral pattern of the title page of the Pentateuch is repeated in the silver hinges, clasps and corners of the binding. Similarly, the gilt and gauffered edges are picked up and repeated on the title page of the Haftarah. Some mispagination, text complete. Laid in is a small note from 1900, a bequest that passes on this Bible.
Some embrowning toward rear of text, front inner hinge expertly repaired, minor tear to top edge of title page for Haftarah. Small one inch fracture in tail of spine, thin crack in upper rear corner, upper front corner silver cornerpiece expertly reattached. Despite minor flaws, the tortoise-shell and detailed silverwork are in exceptional condition. Rare.