Item #5000696 Gold "Vesta" matchbox inscribed "A souvenir from the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, 1905" with the monogrammed initials "M.A.C." Maurice Abraham SYDNEY JEWISH SABBATH SCHOOL. COHEN.
Gold "Vesta" matchbox inscribed "A souvenir from the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, 1905" with the monogrammed initials "M.A.C.".

Gold "Vesta" matchbox inscribed "A souvenir from the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, 1905"…
Gold "Vesta" matchbox inscribed "A souvenir from the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School, 1905" with the monogrammed initials "M.A.C.".

Sydney: 1905.

9 carat gold matchbox, 15 gr; 45 x 30 mm; monogrammed on the back with interwoven letters "M.A.C."

Presented to Australia's first Jewish Educator

A remarkable memento of the pioneer Jewish educator Maurice (Moses) Abraham Cohen (1851-1923).

A remarkable memento of the pioneer Jewish educator Maurice (Moses) Abraham Cohen (1851-1923).

Objects from the Australian Jewish community at the start of the 20th century (prior to the great waves of Jewish immigration) are very scarce. The monogrammed initials on this attractive presentation piece identify it as a gift from the Sydney Jewish Sabbath School to M.A. Cohen, the School's first principal.

Born in Ukraine to a Sephardic family, Cohen was a talented linguist. Educated in England, after spells in India and Afghanistan he travelled to Australia in 1887 where he took up a role as the first headmaster of the Jewish Sunday School, just then established in Sydney within the Great Synagogue, Australia's finest synagogue. He went on to become head of the NSW Jewish Board of Education. At one time he was editor of Sydney's first Jewish weekly newspaper the Australian Jewish Weekly, as well as a lecturer on Hebrew at a number of theological colleges in Australia.

Cohen was one of the first European Australians to call attention to the plight of the Australian Aborigines and argue for compensation and land rights, even risking his position as editor of the Australian Hebrew Newspaper with his fiery opinion pieces on the subject. He also argued for increased non-discriminatory immigration drawing from all cultures and vehemently opposed the White Australia Policy. (The Australian Jewish Historical Society, "The First Jewish Educator for Sydney": online resource).

So-called "Vesta" cases, named for the Roman goddess of fire and the hearth, are small portable boxes made to contain matches and keep them dry. More commonly made of tin or sometimes enamel or silver, with later examples sometimes carrying advertising or being highly decorated, gold examples from this period represent a high standard and were very suitable for presentation pieces; this fine example was perhaps made to join a pocket watch on its gold chain.

::

Condition Report: In exemplary original condition.

Price (AUD): $6,775.00

US$4,563.14   Other currencies

Ref: #5000696

Condition Report