Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • SHOP
  • Appraisals

    1818 Pennsylvania Birth-Announcement Fraktur

    Appraised Value:

    $8,000 - $12,000

    Appraised on: July 14, 2007

    Appraised in: San Antonio, Texas

    Appraised by: Stephen Fletcher

    Category: Folk Art

    Episode Info: San Antonio, Hour 3 (#1209)

    Originally Aired: March 24, 2008

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Drawing, Illustration
    Material: Watercolor, Ink, Paper
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $8,000 - $12,000

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (2:50)


    Appraised By:

    Stephen Fletcher
    Clocks & Watches, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture
    Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts, Partner, Executive Vice President & Chief Auctioneer
    Skinner, Inc.

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: This is a Fraktur that my parents bought in, uh, Quakertown, Pennsylvania. I was with them. I was six years old, in... I won't... in the 1960s, we'll just leave it at that-- and they paid $50 for it at a flea market. They lived in upper Montgomery County in Pennsylvania and were very interested in Pennsylvania folk art.

    APPRAISER: And how did you learn that it's a Fraktur?

    GUEST: Probably spent every weekend of my life at, uh, auctions and estate sales with my parents.

    APPRAISER: This is a lovely piece. Its roots are in Germany. German examples of illustrated manuscript came over here very early on. And Southeastern Pennsylvania, you ultimately saw those folks adapting those ideas and making them very much their own. The medium here is watercolor, pen and ink. I think in all likelihood it was done by a man who made his living

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: doing these for families.

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: These were meant to be enjoyed in a home, they were meant to be attractive, kind of fun, actually.

    GUEST: Right. Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: They announced, uh, important family events. In this instance, this is a Fraktur indicating the birth of a child.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: And in old German it talks about the mom and dad, the name of the child, and the birth, which was in 1818. The reason that this is so much nicer than a lot of the Frakturs we see, it's totally hand-done. The later ones in the 19th century are colored with watercolor, but printed.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: This one is an original composition. The fact that it has a full, standing figure in profile, this man is so interesting, and he's flanked by the sort of conventionalized tulips on vines. Some say that the tulip blossom, which fundamentally is easy to paint, might even represent the Trinity.

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: So there is some religious overtones, although in this one that's purely conjecture. The condition on this piece is good. There is some slight discoloration. Someone has written a name, very early on, on the top-- we'd love to know what that name is all about. Perhaps through some research, we could figure it out. And the frame on this piece is not original. I looked at it pretty carefully, and the way that it's constructed, along with the fact that they've used modern nails, indicates that the frame is 20th century. But having said that, I think it's a good mix. It looks well on this, so I don't think I'd change it.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: Any idea what it might be worth today in the current market?

    GUEST: Um, $1,500, I guess, would be a guess that I would make.

    APPRAISER: Well, I did a little bit of homework, made a couple of calls and talked to my friends here, and we tend to think that it's worth in the area of $8,000 to $12,000.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: It's especially interesting because of that full-size-profile portrait of a man. It differentiates it from a lot of the others.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube