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Lot 156: Signers of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel - Complete Collection of Autographs, Paper Items and Photographs in an Elegant Case

Auction 53 - Rare and Important Items

by Kedem Public Auction House Ltd

15 November 2016

Jerusalem, Israel

Live Auction
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Description: Collection of autographs, signed documents and letters of all signers of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel. Additional documents: documents signed by the designer of the scroll Otte Wallish, author of the draft Zvi Berenson, Secretary of the Provisional State Council, Ze'ev Sherf, and more; photo-album of the Declaration of Independence ceremony, with original prints signed by the photographer Rudi Weissenstein. This lot is the result of diligently collected items over many years. The collector, Michael Levin, started the collection in the early 1970s, while one third of the signers were still alive, and over the years extended it and added documents of various dignitaries related to the declaration event. The signed documents are diverse and encompass a period of three decades and more. Alongside official leaves, documents and letters concerning public matters, the collection includes letters of personal and intimate nature, documenting a variety of aspects of public life and the Zionist leadership in those crucial years. Mentioned among the topics are the education system, religious matters, Zionist organizations in the Diaspora, financial matters, Jews in Nablus in biblical days, deserted lands and other subjects. Complete collections of all signers of the Declaration of Independence are not common, as some of the signers did not occupy public or official duties after the establishment of Israel, others have died relatively young. The collection is presented in an exquisite case designed by the collector, graduate of "Bezalel". The signed documents are inserted in folders, bearing photographs of the signers, their printed signatures as they figure on the scroll, and a short biography. Within the folders are English translations of the documents and letters, and a transcript of the letters. In 2008 the collection was presented at the Mus?e d'art et d'histoire du Juda?sme in Paris, in the exhibition "14th of May 1948: A collector's investigation". The collection includes: 1. 37 letters, documents and autographs of all signers of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel (two double signatures). Among the documents: · Six signatures with a personal testimony from the declaration event: "I signed the Declaration of Independence during the first cease-fire, when I was flown in a small plane… we sent a message to Ben Gurion saying that we object the postponement of the proclamation of the State.", from a letter by Moshe Kolodny (Kol); "The truth is that not one of the co-signers agreed to the whole contents of the Declaration of Independence… The single unifying element was the last phrase, 'We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, to be called Israel'", from a signed transcript of Meir Vilner's words; "As to the question on why I signed the Declaration of Independence under the name of 'Vardi' and not 'Rosenblum'… When I was about to sign the Declatation of Independence, Ben Gurion… advised me to sign by the name of 'Vardi' - and I did so...", from a letter by Herzl Vardi (Rosenblum); "At the fateful hour that I signed my name on the manuscript, I felt that I was signing for all the daughters of Israel…", from a transcript signed by Rachel Cohen-Kagan. · Signature of Yitzchak Gruenbaum on a letter of 1938, urging Chaim Bograshov to go to Lithuania and make peace between the various Zionist sections, when the tension between them "turned to hostility which endangers the movement in Lithuania". · Signature of David Zvi Pinkas, on a letter which was sent several days prior to the incident of a bomb thrown towards his house. 2. Additional Documents: · A signed letter from the secretary of the Provisional State council, Ze'ev Sherf. Sent in reply to a request by the collector explaining why Chaim Weizmann was not invited to sign the scroll; Ze'ev Sherf's signature on a reproduction of the invitation to the Independence Declaration ceremony. · Reproduction of the second draft of the declaration, dated 9.5.1948, signed by it’s author Zvi Berenson (original is preserved in the National Archive). · Two signatures by the calligrapher and designer of the Independence Scroll Otte Wallish, in Hebrew and in Latin characters, on the reverse of a stamps’ souvenir folder. Out of a special edition of 99 stamps series signed by Wallish. · A calling card of the declaration recorder "Radio Doctor". 3. Photo-Album: Nine photographs from the Independence Declaration and signing ceremony. Gelatin silver prints, printed from the original negatives, signed by the photographer Rudi (Shimon) Weissenstein. Presented in a fine album, with a short biography of the photographer. Among the photographs: David Ben Gurion delivers the Declaration of Independence; Moshe Sharett, David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, David Remez and others signing the scroll; and more. Photographer's ink stamp and negative number appears on the reverse of each photograph. Signed documents in varying size, most of them are typewritten, some are handwritten. Folders' size: 22.5X32 cm, case: 24.5X34.5 cm, photographs: 18X24 cm, album: 29.7X21 cm. Condition varies. Good and fair overall condition. Folding marks, stains, tears and some open tears to some of the signed leaves, no damage to signatures.

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