1808 Baptismal Certificate
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000 (1998)
$4,000 - $6,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (1:53)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Furniture and Decorative Arts
APPRAISER: Lucille, what you brought in here is an American Pennsylvania German fraktur. The word "fraktur" comes from the German word for this gothic lettering. This particular document is actually called a taufschein. And it's a baptismal certificate. And what it does is list the name of the person being baptized-- in this case, Daniel Bennighof, the date, 1808, and we also know that it was made in Northampton County in Pennsylvania. And the Germans settled Pennsylvania prior to the Revolutionary War. They were Lutheran and Reformed Germans. And these baptismal certificates were very important, and they were very prized in the Pennsylvania German home. They were sometimes put inside a dower chest, they were hung proudly on the wall. This example was probably stored for a long time inside of a book or family bible because of this crease down the center. May I ask you, where did you find this?
GUEST: I got it at a flea market in Orange County about five years ago. And I just loved it, and it fit in my decor in my house.
APPRAISER: I love the colors. These tulips, which are typical motifs used by the Pennsylvania Germans. These pinwheels, these abstract designs, and the design is very powerful. It's actually in great condition as well. A lot of these are yellow and faded, and the background is very, very white. And what did you pay for this, may I ask?
GUEST: I paid $50.
APPRAISER: $50? Well, that was a great buy. You should keep going to flea markets.
GUEST: Really? Oh, good.
APPRAISER: This is worth between $3,000 and $5,000.
GUEST: Oh, how wonderful. That's great, wow.
APPRAISER: It's a great example.
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