Fraktur Presentation Page, ca. 1800

Value (2016) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

This is a German... old German psalm book I think published in 1811.


But the thing about this that's so special is this particularly beautiful presentation page. This is in the finest Pennsylvania German tradition. This presentation page would have proudly identified this book belonging to this person. And these fraktur presentation pages are oftentimes found in Pennsylvania German books. Frakturs also appeared as announcements, birth announcements, that sort of thing in larger format. But every once in a while we'll happen upon one which is so perfectly preserved with all those beautiful bright colors intact. It's very exciting to see. How did you acquire this?

I'm a Presbyterian minister, and a member of my church gave me some old religious books. (laughing) And I was particularly excited because it had these clasps. And I thought, "Well, this has... this has got to be an unusual book." So I opened it, and you couldn't help but be drawn to that particular... first I called it a watercolor and then later discovered really what it is, I guess you could say the formal name fraktur. I'm Pennsylvania Dutch, that's my heritage. So I was intrigued by that, but by the artistry too. My wife is a graphic designer and we both just love this. I have a good friend who was a archivist, and he said, "You really ought to have that preserved and repaired." So we did.

So in other words they repaired the binding.

They repaired the binding and they said that's really all it needs.

And a beautiful job, I might add.

Yeah, they did a marvelous job.

I checked with the folks here in the book department, and as a book without the presentation fraktur page, it's of no great value particularly. So my interest, and the interest at least in the auction world, would be this magnificent, colorful page. And when I talked to the folks in the book department, he said, "Oh, my God," he said, "they're not thinking of taking it out of the book." I said, "Never."

No, no.

Never, never, never. So many of them at this point have been removed, and as a result, a lot of them have seen light and have faded. This is pretty much the way it looked the day it was painted. Do you have any idea as to what the value of this would be?

When I had it repaired, it was expensive. It was $200. The hope is that it's escalated a little bit, maybe $500.

This would be a little bit of a research project. But with some time, we might be able to figure out who the particular artist is. We took a little quiz amongst my compatriots, and at auction, we came up with an estimate between $3,000 and $5,000.

Wow, wow.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2016)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Orlando, FL (June 18, 2016)
Folk Art
Paint , Paper

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