1945 "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" Set
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $6,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (3:03)
Books & Manuscripts
Brattle Book Shop
GUEST: I brought in a commemorative collection that was given to the U.S. ambassador to Belgium by the Prince Regent of Belgium after World War II for the return of "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," which was considered one of Belgium's best pieces of artwork. It was stolen by the Nazis, and they were going to destroy it, and the U.S. military saved it and returned it. So this is a collection. It has a book that has their correspondences between the Prince Regent and the ambassador, and then it has 123 silver nitrate prints like this one, just kind of depicting the altar piece and the work and describing it.
APPRAISER: How did you get it?
GUEST: We got it in the estate sale of Charles Sawyer's family. He was the ambassador.
APPRAISER: And when you say "we"?
GUEST: My parents and I. So my parents bought it as a gift for me.
APPRAISER: So "The Adoration of the Lamb," or "The Mystic Lamb," was in Belgium, and it had a storied history. I mean, it was first hanging there in the 1400s. World War II came along, the Germans get it. Fortunately, they didn't destroy it. The Americans, upon winning the war, presented this back to the Belgians, and that's what this is all about. They had royal designers, members of the architectural college, design this gorgeous box. This is a book that I don't know how many copies they did. It looks very much like that they might have only done one copy. This is all hand-done. This is all artwork. All the way through it, it is gorgeous. And it gives the history. But the main thing it gives is the great appreciation of the Belgian people for getting it back. Also, I can't help but point out this is an absolutely spectacular binding. In the box is the book, and then there are a whole group of photographs. And this is a list of all the photographs contained with the book. We just put one out here to show it off. A book like this took tremendous amount of production. It's one of the most beautiful books of its type. Everything hand-done. What did you pay for it, do you know? Or what did your parents pay for it?
GUEST: I think they paid several thousand for it, I'm not sure exactly.
APPRAISER: It was a gift, so they won't tell you?
APPRAISER: With everything that this goes with, with the gorgeous box, the photographs... Just as a design piece, the book and the artwork in it, I would say a very conservative retail price is $4,000 to $6,000.
APPRAISER: Any library, any World War II collector, anyone interested in the art of Europe, they're all going to want it.
GUEST: Okay, thank you.
APPRAISER: It wouldn't shock me if someone would pay $10,000 or more, but there's no way of getting comparables.
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