Special Chabad auction in honor of the yahrzeit of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn on the 3rd of Tamuz and in honor of the Chag HaGeulah on the 12th-13th of Tamuz of Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn - the Rayatz of Lubavitch
This auction features letters and rare items of Chabad Rebbes and of their wives, the rebbetzins.
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Wristwatch Given by Rebbe Rayatz to His Son-in-Law the Lubavitcher Rebbe – With Letter of Authenticity Signed by ...
Sold for: $38,000
Auction house commission: 25%
VAT: 17% On commission only
Wristwatch Given by Rebbe Rayatz to His Son-in-Law the Lubavitcher Rebbe – With Letter of Authenticity Signed by Rebbetzin Chanah Gurary
Benrus wristwatch which R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn – the Lubavitcher Rebbe, received as a gift from his father-in-law R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn – Rebbe Rayatz.
Letter of authenticity enclosed (handwritten note, in English), signed in Hebrew by Rebbetzin Chanah Gurary (1899-1991), eldest daughter of Rebbe Rayatz: "I hereby gift… the Benrus watch that my father [the Rayatz] bought my brother-in-law [the Lubavitcher Rebbe] in 1929-1930. When my father and my husband went to Israel and America I went with my son [Barry Gurary] to Berlin to stay with my sister. While in America my father bought as a gift for my brother-in-law the Benrus watch. It had become very popular at the time. My brother-in-law wore this watch along with the one he got before his wedding for most of the 1930's – early 1940's. By 1945, the Benrus watch was considered dated and my brother-in-law offered it to my son who said he wasn't interested having it. When my sister and brother-in-law were moving from their apartment on New York ave [in 1955, the Rebbe and Rebbetzin moved to their home on President St.], my sister gave it to me. She didn't want to keep things that became something that just sat in the dresser without being used. I changed the band of the watch. My husband wore it a few times and he too wasn't interested in wearing it. I want you to have it. Now that my husband passed away [the Rashag passed away in Adar 1989], I know you will treasure it". Dated 10th September 1989.
In 1929-1930, Rebbe Rayatz travelled to Eretz Israel and the United States, accompanied by his oldest son-in-law R. Shemaryahu Gurary (the Rashag). On 21st Tammuz 1930, the Rayatz's visit in the United States ended. He set sail from the port of New York on the SS Bremen, and reached Berlin on 27th Tammuz 1930. After spending several weeks in the health spas of Marienbad, and a short stay in Berlin, he returned in the middle of Elul to Riga. On his way to Eretz Israel and upon his return, as well as upon returning from the United States, the Rayatz met his younger son-in-law R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, future Lubavitcher Rebbe, in Berlin (R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn and his wife Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka lived in 1929-1933 in Berlin, and moved to Paris when the Nazis rose to power).
According to the enclosed letter, Rebbe Rayatz bought the present watch as a gift for his son-in-law R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn during his visit to the United States in 1930, and presented it to him upon his return to Europe, presumably during his stay in Berlin (in Tammuz and Elul 1930), while on his way home to Riga.
As described in the letter, during the visit of her father the Rayatz and her husband the Rashag in Eretz Israel and the United States, Rebbetzin Chanah Gurary stayed, together with her son Barry, by her sister Chaya Mushka and her brother-in-law R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn in Berlin (see also Igrot Kodesh of the Rayatz, vol. XV letters 5442, 5449, 5468).
In the famous picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe sitting beside his mother Rebbetzin Chanah in Paris (the Rebbe came to Paris in 1947 to accompany his mother Rebbetzin Chanah to the United States, after she escaped Soviet Russia), the rebbe is seen wearing a watch which resembles the present one. This may be the watch he received as a gift from his father-in-law the Rayatz some 17 years earlier in 1930 (see enclosed material).
Body of watch: 2.5X2.5 cm. Good condition. Mechanism in working order. New leather straps (as mentioned in the letter, Rebbetzin Chanah Gurary replaced the original straps).