This is such a cool family artifact — you may have never seen anything like it!
Dating back to 1734, this family Coat of Arms is made of paper (using a process called quilling, which involves tightly wound pieces of paper specifically arranged to create an intricate design) — but this old-time object is more than just an heirloom. According to the Antiques Roadshow expert (who seems to know his stuff) featured in the video, quilling techniques were extremely rare in colonial America, making this antique quite a specimen.
According to the Quilling Guild, “The popularity of Quilling has fluctuated. Work of high quality was achieved by French and Italian nuns in the 16th and 17th centuries; genteel ladies in the Stuart period; ladies of leisure in the Georgian and Regency periods – and it is currently enjoying a modern revival. It also spread to North America with the settlers. Those of us who quill today find we have something in common with Elizabeth, daughter of George III, Joseph Bramah (the famous locksmith), Mrs Delany (pioneer of other paperwork and friend of Jonathan Swift), Jane Austen (who mentions it in her novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’) and the Bronte sisters: quite a distinguished gathering of enthusiasts!
Since this particular Coat of Arms represents two “Great New England families,” the piece is quite valuable… see for yourself in the clip below. If you love antiques, it will give you quite the rush!