When a loved one passes, we are sometimes tasked with going through their belongings and divvying possessions up amongst the grieving family members. While it can be a challenging time, it can also be a time that we learn a lot about the people we love and the value of their possessions. One Utah woman stored her great-grandmother’s belongings in her basement and for years they sat untouched.
Unbeknownst to her, there was a historical treasure buried in the belongings.
The ancestor was a devout woman who belonged to The Latter Day Saints, so it wasn’t bizarre that one of the things that she left behind was a Bellows Falls Latter Day Saints church hymnal, that had been published in 1844. Knowing that the first hymnal ever published by the church was just nine years before in 1835, the woman decided to have it appraised at Antiques Roadshow when the television show had happened to stop by Salt Lake City.
She met with rare book appraiser, Ken Sanders, who first informed her that the book was made of both musical notations and lyrics because it was so old, which made it even rarer than she had imagined.
Hymnals back then were designed in a way that they could be thrown after they were used, so Sanders was impressed with the good condition of the book, stating that it would certainly add to the value.
“It makes them very uncommon to actually still exist a century and a half or so later,” Sanders said. “So you’ve got a very scarce and rare one.”
In the video below you can witness the reaction of the woman when Sanders tells her how much the book is worth.
Sanders asks her if she has any idea of the value of the book that she brought in, and she responds that she has absolutely no clue.
He then breaks the news to her and her face is priceless.
“At retail, your hymnal would sell for between $40,000 to $50,000.”
She has a complete look of shock on her face as she gasps and covers her mouth with her hands.
“Oh, my gosh…really!?” she says in disbelief.
She’s in tears at this point and she goes to ask Sanders what she should do with it.
“Keep it very very safe,” he says. “Like in a safety deposit box.”
She is clearly still in a state of shock and expresses how she had no idea and then she questions who she should hand it down to.
Commenters shared their thoughts and some compared their own findings…
“Wow! I have a similar hymnal but it is just the words not the notes and is newer (1883) who knew it had a monetary value. It’s priceless to me as it belonged to my ancestor.”
“What a genuine reaction.”
“What a heartfelt reaction.”
“Awww….how sweet!!! I teared up watching this! I had a feeling it was going to be high since they were taping it…maybe $10-15K even. But what an astronomical value!!! Good for her!!! You most certainly could tell she was stunned and likely a huge blessing to come to her!! And to think it was sitting in a box in the basement for yrs!!! Luckily it was kept safe n free of damage! Very excited n happy for her! Hope they follow up with her down the road!”