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    Pennsylvania-German Box

    Appraised Value:

    $15,000 - $25,000 (1997)

    Updated Value:

    $30,000 - $40,000 (2011)

    Appraised on: June 14, 1997

    Appraised in: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Appraised by: Nancy Druckman

    Category: Folk Art

    Episode Info: Pittsburgh (#1627)

    Originally Aired: July 23, 2012

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    More Like This:

    Form: Box
    Material: Wood, Paint
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $15,000 - $25,000 (1997)
    Updated Value: $30,000 - $40,000 (2011)

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    Appraisal Video: (2:34)


    Appraised By:

    Nancy Druckman
    Folk Art
    Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art

    Appraisal Transcript:

    GUEST: My parents are Pennsylvania Dutch and this looks very much like some things I've seen. It's got a handmade detail on it and we think it was a bride's box because it's so small, but we really don't know, and that's why we're here.

    APPRAISER: Well, it's one of the greatest of its type that I've seen. You're quite right-- it comes from southeastern Pennsylvania, which was one of the primary areas that people emigrated to through the 19th century. It was either a trinket or a document box. It's a full-blown example of all of the great qualities of Pennsylvania German artwork. These designs that we see on the box and on the side as well are actually drawn with a compass, and the compass is used to create these interlacing circles which then turn into flowers and then into star devices. The inside of the box, which is accessed through this tin hasp... fascinating, because it's really a piece of American history. At some point, the wood began to shrink, which meant that these pieces of wood began to get narrower and there were spaces that started to form in the lid of the box and then this was mended, or kept together, with pieces of Pennsylvania German homespun. So you can see that it was repaired by the Pennsylvania Germans. And it is in incredible condition. The paint surface is beautiful. As you can see, it has a sort of sea green ground with this crisp red and white perfectly drawn, precise decoration covering the entire surface of the box. In terms of the auction value of this piece, small ones tend to sell for $5,000 and $6,000 and $7,000 and $10,000. This, because of its size, the state of preservation and the beauty of its decoration would probably be worth somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000.

    GUEST: Wow! So I am really thrilled... I'm afraid to carry it now.

    APPRAISER: Now you have to drive really carefully home.

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