"The acquisition of the Valmadonna and its arrival in Jerusalem present a tremendous opportunity for the National Library of Israel to further realize the vision of its renewal, as we will open access to these exquisite cultural treasures for researchers and the general public in Israel and across the globe," announced Oren Weinberg, the director of the National Library of Israel.
The renowned Valmadonna Trust Library was acquired by the National Library through a private sale arranged by Sotheby’s. The acquisition was made jointly with Archaeology, Books, and Judaica collectors Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn.
Broadside wedding poem, Livorno, 1792
The Valmadonna Trust Library was assembled over a period of more than six decades by visionary collector Jack Lunzer. It comprises a wide-ranging group of more than 10,000 works that chart the spread of Hebrew printing and the global dissemination of Jewish culture.
Among the highlights of the collection are an incunable of the Pentateuch, printed in Lisbon in 1491; one of only two surviving copies of a Passover Haggadah printed in Prague in 1556; An Ashkenaz siddur printed in Venice on parchment in 1549; The Plantin Polyglot or “King’s Bible,” printed in Antwerp between 1568 and 1573; and more than 550 broadsheets dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The acquisition is an important and exciting addition to the NLI’s collection.
The printed works in the collection are in superb condition and the acquisition has enabled NLI to gain in one acquisition what would have taken decades to collect. The acquisition is made possible by a generous gift from the Haim and Hana Solomon Fund.
Haggadah, Prague, 1556
"The National Library of Israel is currently in the midst of a comprehensive renewal process by which it is fast becoming the most significant cultural institution in Israel and the Jewish world. Its new home, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, is currently being constructed adjacent to the Knesset and will be completed in less than four years' time. In this context, the Library continues to expand its collections tremendously, acquiring cultural and intellectual treasures ranging from ancient Jewish and Islamic manuscripts to contemporary music. The Valmadonna Trust Library represents an historic addition to our leading collection of Jewish manuscripts, prints and books, which reflect and embody the cultures of the Jewish people around the world and across the ages," said David Blumberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Library of Israel.
Hebrew alphabet card, Frankfurt, 1650
The acquisition of the Valmadonna Trust Library was reported in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Times of Israel, and the Jewish Chronicle.