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Uncommon $3M antique Passover compendium on display

A cauldron shaped Passover compendium from either Poland or the Ukraine and assessed at around $3 million, is one of several Judaica antiquities currently on display at J. Greenstein & Co.'s Auction House in New York.

NEW YORK — As Passover approaches, J. Greenstein & Co.’s Auction House (, the world renowned source for antique and rare Judaica, is currently displaying some of its most expensive and unique Passover antiques, highlighting their significant historic value.

“That these pieces have survived wars, immigrations, and time is a testament to their historic and

Passover compendium

19th century Passover compendium. (Photo courtesy J. Greenstein & Co. Auction House)

cultural importance,” said Jonathan Greenstein, chief expert and president of J. Greenstein & Company. “Passover only happens once a year, but it is such an important reminder of the survival of the Jewish people and it is clear that the artists behind these pieces had an emotional and spiritual connection to that message. Here at the auction house, we are so happy to be able to share these pieces and find buyers who will treasure them.”

Among the Judaica collection on display is a silver Passover Compendium from either Poland or Ukraine. It was likely created between 1840 and 1860 and Greenstein estimates that it is worth $3 million, although it was initially purchased by Greenstein for the severely undervalued price of $165,000from another auction house. The rare structure of the compendium indicates that it is associated with the Ruzhin-Sadigura Chassidic dynasty, which was a large community in Sadigura, Austria during the 1800s. The Sadigura Rebbe was famous for being both wise and extravagant, fitting with the scholarly, decorated piece. Many of these items are slated to be included in J. Greenstein & Co.'s May 17 auction.

The compendium is cauldron shaped, with three removable circular dishes, each to hold the circular matzot. Each drawer is lined with dark blue velvet and has a lock attached to the pull tab so they do not slide out if tilted. Each drawer is inscribed in Hebrew with Passover related Scriptural excerpts and engraved with flowing foliate engravings. The other sides of the main body are decorated with scenes from the Exodus story. The main body is further decorated with Empire style swan-like handles, realistically crafted with wings. The upper removable plate has six small plates, each supported by an eagle. Each one of the six plates is for the different foods required to be displayed for the order of the Seder. According to Greenstein, “This is one of the most magnificent pieces of Judaica to be in private hands.”

The gallery, based in a 1500-sq-ft location in Long Island, NY, hosts numerous historic pieces from around the world. Currently, the J. Greenstein & Co. Auction House is the country’s only house solely devoted to the sale of Jewish ritual objects. In past years, Greenstein’s Auction House rose to fame from hosting celebrity Judaica including Sammy Davis Jr.’s personal menorah and items from victims of the Bernard Madoff scandal.

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