Shenandoah Fraktur Book, ca. 1808
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (1999)
$15,000 - $20,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:12)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art
GUEST: This has been in my family, I think, since it was done. The John Powers that you see there-- it says he's the son of Catherine and Steven. And they were my grandfather's great-grandparents.
APPRAISER: Right, so this is a real family piece.
GUEST: Yes, yes, yes.
APPRAISER: And, in fact, this was the kind of piece that was created to maintain a document of the family. In fact, it's a little fraktur family record booklet.
APPRAISER: Marvelous that it has survived in this condition with all of the pages. And if I can just go to...
APPRAISER: ...this spread, as they say in the magazine business, really remarkably beautiful calligraphy. And it's an interesting document in American history as well because these kind of fraktur-- meaning that the letters had a fractured or broken appearance...
GUEST: Oh, I didn't really understand the derivation.
APPRAISER: ...was something that was brought over by the Germans who settled originally in Pennsylvania. There were also Germans who came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. And the interesting thing is that they were English-speaking, as opposed to the Pennsylvania Germans, who spoke German. And as I said, it is absolutely in a remarkable state of preservation, obviously something which has been treasured. Now, let's get to the market part of this. (laughs) How do we assign a value to something like this? Obviously, it's a priceless heirloom...
GUEST: It's priceless for the family.
APPRAISER: Right, in terms of the family. But those of us who inhabit the commercial world of art would basically figure the price at about $5,000...
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRAISER: Per illuminated page.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRAISER: So we're talking about somewhere in the vicinity of $15,000 to $20,000.
GUEST: I'm just amazed. I mean, I had no idea.
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