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Old 11-28-2012, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62667

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I have a very large, solid brass menorah that I found - literally in a pile of trash - in Germany back in the 1990s.

It's about 16" tall and 14" wide and is definitely solid brass. It weighs a ton - well, not a ton but probably 5 pounds or so.

There are no maker's marks on it.

When I searched images online, I found some menorahs that looked almost identical to it. Most of them were either titled "antique" or "vintage" and many were described as "eastern European style" or "from Poland."

This is not mine, but it looks almost identical to it:


http://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/637....250813608.jpg

These range in price online literally from $16 to $600.

I don't know what I have exactly but I'd love to know more about it if possible. Any insight, anyone?
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:19 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,099 posts, read 34,524,599 times
Reputation: 16145
Seek out a large auction house in your area and see if they will look at it for you. They may not be expert about menorahs, but at least they should be able to know how old it is.

And email some pictures of it to Christie's or Sotheby's in NYC. They have a large Jewish population there and at least one of them holds an annual Judaica auction.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62667
Quote:
Originally Posted by miu View Post
Seek out a large auction house in your area and see if they will look at it for you. They may not be expert about menorahs, but at least they should be able to know how old it is.

And email some pictures of it to Christie's or Sotheby's in NYC. They have a large Jewish population there and at least one of them holds an annual Judaica auction.
Thanks for this advice. I cleaned it up a bit tonight and am displaying it behind my nativity set - which my mother in law thinks is VERY strange, but hey - Jesus and Mary and Joseph were Jewish!

It's really nice - so big and heavy.

Can you believe I found it in a pile of TRASH in Germany? I mean, I think that's pretty ironic - and sort of sad and mysterious.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:52 AM
 
34,240 posts, read 41,245,337 times
Reputation: 29696
Looks a lot like this one
Russian Samovars - Rare Judaica Antiques, Samovar, Kiddush Cups, Jewish Gifts
Maybe contact the store for more info..
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:35 AM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
17,099 posts, read 34,524,599 times
Reputation: 16145
Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
Looks a lot like this one
Russian Samovars - Rare Judaica Antiques, Samovar, Kiddush Cups, Jewish Gifts
Maybe contact the store for more info..
And please note the dark colour of the one pictured and described as having a "beautiful original dark cinnamon patina." And that's what the serious antique collectors want, the original surface treatment on their collection, whether it's brass or wood. With silver, of course they want it to look silver coloured and not black with tarnish, but with antique silver... never ever have it machine buffed or polished with metal polish or dipped in Tarn-X.

So in the future, don't ever polish your menorah or any other antique brass objects.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62667
Quote:
Originally Posted by miu View Post
And please note the dark colour of the one pictured and described as having a "beautiful original dark cinnamon patina." And that's what the serious antique collectors want, the original surface treatment on their collection, whether it's brass or wood. With silver, of course they want it to look silver coloured and not black with tarnish, but with antique silver... never ever have it machine buffed or polished with metal polish or dipped in Tarn-X.

So in the future, don't ever polish your menorah or any other antique brass objects.
Thanks for the info.

I had to polish this up a little because it had a lot of wax on it. But what I mainly did was pour boiling water over it to loosen the wax, and then buff it up. It still has a nice patina to it. Here's a photo - not a great one because I took it with my "antique" phone, but you can see something to it.

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62667
Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
Looks a lot like this one
Russian Samovars - Rare Judaica Antiques, Samovar, Kiddush Cups, Jewish Gifts
Maybe contact the store for more info..
I think I will! My daughter actually contacted this store because she found what appears to be a very old, very heavy candelabra, and when she sent them the photos, they told her that they think it dates to the mid 19th century and may be worth around $250!
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:40 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 36,246,290 times
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Unless the photo is obscuring part of it, that's not a menorah. It's just a 7-candle candelabra. A menorah would be either 4 on each side and one in the middle.

In synagogues, you'll often find a 7-candle lampstand, which is also called a menorah, because it is one of the symbols of Jerusalem. But the Chanukah Menorah has to have one candle for each night (8 candles), plus an extra, which is used to light each of the other ones (the 9th, known as the shamash, or "helper"). So it'd have 9 branches total, and not 7.

To make it even more confusing, there is an 8-branch candelabra, also known as a menorah, which is the symbol of Judaism. It is also -not- the 7-branch one in your photo, OR the Chanukah menorah.

Further - if it were a chanukah menorah, the middle candleholder would have to be made taller than the other ones. It looks from your photo that all 7 are even in height.

To make it even MORE more confusing - Many of us have traditional oil menrot (plural for menorah), which is one candelabra-looking thing, but it holds oil with wicks, and there is a little seperate oil lantern that you light, and then hold it and use it to light each of the attached ones. That is an 8-burner menorah, plus separate shamash. That's the kind I grew up with, but we stuck candles in where you're supposed to put the oil in each burner instead.

Knowing this, might help you in your search for its value and origins.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:38 PM
 
11,151 posts, read 14,114,566 times
Reputation: 18795
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
Unless the photo is obscuring part of it, that's not a menorah. It's just a 7-candle candelabra. A menorah would be either 4 on each side and one in the middle.

In synagogues, you'll often find a 7-candle lampstand, which is also called a menorah, because it is one of the symbols of Jerusalem. But the Chanukah Menorah has to have one candle for each night (8 candles), plus an extra, which is used to light each of the other ones (the 9th, known as the shamash, or "helper"). So it'd have 9 branches total, and not 7.

The OP didn't say it was a "Chanukah Menorah," so what does that have to do with her question? As you, yourself, pointed out, there is an item known as a 7-branch menorah, and that appears to be what the OP has.

Quote:
The 7 branch menorah is one of the oldest symbols of Judaism. It goes all the way back to the first temple in ancient times, and is still seen frequently today. The 7 branch menorah serves as a reminder of the time of the temples, and is also meant to show the 7 days that it took God to create the earth and everything on it, with the center candle holder being used to represent the day on which God rested, the Sabbath. The 7 branch menorah was first used to light the interior of the temple, with the lamps of the candleholders being filled with olive oil and lit daily.
It's a beautiful piece, OP, and I hope you can learn something more about its origin and value.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:13 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62667
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
Unless the photo is obscuring part of it, that's not a menorah. It's just a 7-candle candelabra. A menorah would be either 4 on each side and one in the middle.

In synagogues, you'll often find a 7-candle lampstand, which is also called a menorah, because it is one of the symbols of Jerusalem. But the Chanukah Menorah has to have one candle for each night (8 candles), plus an extra, which is used to light each of the other ones (the 9th, known as the shamash, or "helper"). So it'd have 9 branches total, and not 7.

To make it even more confusing, there is an 8-branch candelabra, also known as a menorah, which is the symbol of Judaism. It is also -not- the 7-branch one in your photo, OR the Chanukah menorah.

Further - if it were a chanukah menorah, the middle candleholder would have to be made taller than the other ones. It looks from your photo that all 7 are even in height.

To make it even MORE more confusing - Many of us have traditional oil menrot (plural for menorah), which is one candelabra-looking thing, but it holds oil with wicks, and there is a little seperate oil lantern that you light, and then hold it and use it to light each of the attached ones. That is an 8-burner menorah, plus separate shamash. That's the kind I grew up with, but we stuck candles in where you're supposed to put the oil in each burner instead.

Knowing this, might help you in your search for its value and origins.
There are 7 branch menorahs:

Here's one that looks almost exactly like the one I have:

http://www.russiansamovars.com/images/source/1531
Note that all the candle holders are the same height.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menorah_(Temple)

Here are some interesting articles about 7 branch menorahs:

The Seven Branch Menorah - Symbol of the Jewish Faith

The Orthodox Church uses a seven branched menorah.

This article states that the use of seven branch menorahs among rabbis is in the rise:
Menorah

The seven branch menorah is not used for Chanukah - it can be used for Shabbat, but is usually just used for decoration.

The seven branch menorah is called a Temple Menorah, rather than a Chanukah Menorah, according to my research.
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