To the left and above are a rather rare folding circumcision knife
and a matching shield. The original gilding is still
present. The set is from Italy, 19th century.
the right is an exquisite 18th century circumcision set from the
Netherlands. The case is leather-bound. The knife's blade is
one-sided. The powder box is hinged.
Below is a Polish knife and shield set, late 1800s. The
knife handle is made of ivory. The case is leather.
The seller attributed the
boxed set on the right to circa 1900, Poland. The box is
made of carved wood.
another circumcision set from Poland, estimated to be from the
late 1800s. The knife and plate are engraved with a
fish, a symbol of fertility.
Below, an Israeli eBay auctioneer sold this silver knife and
shield set, circa 1920.
The same auctioneer sold a knife and shield set
in a wooden box, pictured below. He claimed that the set
was from Germany, 19th century.
There are two problems with this set. First, the
knife, while beautiful with its mother-of-pearl handle, has a
faint stamp on the blade which reads "Hausmann, New
Orleans." The Hausmann family operated a jewelry store in New
Orleans from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
Second, the shield pictured in the
auction was not the same shield that was sent to me.
Live and learn!
Below is a fine silver circumcision set from Birmingham,
England, 1923. The hallmarks identify the makers as
Cornelius Saunders and Francis Shepard. The knife has a
The next section features some thought-provoking
circumcision cups. This section also touches upon
the controversial metzitzah
b'peh. Please click the button
Robert Lehrer, MD