"I am hoping you can shed some light as to what this plate represents, the language and its monetary value."
Dear Helaine and Joe:
I enjoy reading your column in the Times Herald-Record here in the Hudson Valley and this has pushed me to photograph the front and back of a wooden plate that I believe I purchased in a box lot at a farm auction. The writing under the building is "Kirche zu Klingenthal." On the back of the plate there is a handwritten note with the name of former owners and the date 1960. I am hoping you can shed some light as to what this plate represents, the language and its monetary value.
C.A., Walden, N.Y.
If you love wood with its distinctive color and grain, and if you love hand carving, this piece has much to offer.
Let's start with the language because there are at least two towns named "Klingenthal" -- one is in France and the other is in Germany. However, the language on this plate is German and the church shown is a famous Protestant church located in Klingenthal, Germany.
Klingenthal, a town of fewer than 10,000 people, is located on the German-Czech Republic border, opposite Kraslice. The town is a ski resort and a tourist center. It features the famous "Zum Friedefursten," an octagonal church (also called the "Prince of Peace" church), which is the subject of the carving on this wooden wall plaque.
Recently, we have seen a small collection of this type of modern, round, wooden carved souvenir wall plaques, and most of them were marked as having been made in Czechoslovakia (as of 1993, the Czech Republic). Most of these pieces were post-World War II, and we feel that this one is not much earlier than the 1960 date reported in C.A.'s letter.
The wood on this piece is lovely and looks like it might have been crafted from European walnut. Unfortunately, this plaque is not yet antique. Collector interest -- despite the superb craftsmanship, beauty and interesting design -- fetches very little money today. Retail value: $65 to $100.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of "Price It Yourself" (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scripps Howard News Service.