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Skaggfacemutt's avatar

What is the oldest family heirloom that you have?

Asked by Skaggfacemutt (9780points) February 8th, 2013

Who did it belong to, and how old is it?

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42 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Mlo here; Gail, I guess. Pretty old.

Gail here; My paternal grandmother’s Edwardian diamond bar pin. I keep it in the vault where it affords no pleasure to anyone. Early 1920’s?

JLeslie's avatar

My great grandmother’s engagement ring. The appraiser said he believes it to be from the 1890’s.

syz's avatar

My grandmother gave me a piece of carnival glass that her date won for her when she was 15 – that would have been about 1932 (?). Oh, and a silver dollar from 1880 and a half dollar from 1923.

Seek's avatar

I had my great-grandmother’s Bible. The date it was given to her was 1927. Can’t say as I know where it is anymore. We’ve done a lot of moving in the last couple of years and a lot of things have disappeared.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I have a prayer book that was my grandfather’s, but I think given to him by his family. Now I am wondering how old it is. I’m glad you mentioned the bible, now I am going to check the date in that book.

bookish1's avatar

Some sturdy Depression-era cookware from my white family.

AshLeigh's avatar

I was never close with my grandparents, or any family outside of my home, so I don’t have any family heirlooms.

El_Cadejo's avatar

My grandfather gave me a $20 gold coin from 1904.

Strauss's avatar

I have a book that was given to me by my aunt before she passed away. It was given to her by her mother (my grandmother), who received it from her father (my great-grandfather).

gailcalled's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: What’s the date of publication? Is it a first edition?

DigitalBlue's avatar

Not completely sure, but I’d guess it’s my great grandfather’s leather strop, from sometime in the early 1900s. My home is also a family home, built in 1915, so I feel like that counts.

JLeslie's avatar

The prayer book is from 1921.

YARNLADY's avatar

My grandmother-in-laws engagement ring, which was given to her in 1921.
My Father’s christening gown which my grandmother made in 1918.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have my great grandmother’s wedding band. She married during the Civil War, so we are talking 1860’s. It is rose gold and has some kind of engraving on it, but it is so worn that you can’t really tell. I always thought it was copper, but in doing some research on the styles of the era, rose gold was a big thing then, so that is probably what it is.

Strauss's avatar

@gailcalled Unfortunately, the book has little in the way of publication data. It is published by Thomas Kelly Catholic Publishers. The title is Christ in His Church: Her Dogmas and Her Saints, with an imprimatur* by John Cardinal McCloskey, who was Archbishop of New York from 1864 to 1885. The book also has a section which contains portraits of Supreme Pontiffs (Popes), and the last one is Leo XIII who was elected pope in 1878 and died in 1903. Given those facts, I’d estimate the publication date to be somewhere between 1878 and 1885.

As far as first edition, I can’t tell. The estimate above sure fits in with my great-grandfather’s age, and also the time he was here in the United States (he visited his daughters here on several occasions, and died in the flu pandemic in 1919).

*The “imprimatur”, as some of you might know, is the official “OK” from an archbishop or cardinal. It verifies that there are no errors in doctrine or dogma contained within the book.

Sunny2's avatar

A huge roll top desk with a glass doored book case that sits on top of it. It was made by my husband’s grandfather from the wood of one cherry tree. He ran out of wood and two of the drawers were made of orange crate wood on the inside. It has a secret compartment. It’s pre-1900.
We also have a cradle he made, which was handed down in the family as children were born.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I’m glad you told us about the book – I was wondering what book could hold so much significance that it has been passed down and treasured for so many generations. I still don’t quite understand why this book, out of all the other church books, was the one that survived. Have you read it?

janbb's avatar

My great-grandmother’s Shabbes brass candlesticks that came from Russia; probably late 19th century.

Strauss's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I haven’t read it completely, but the title page itself is fascinating:

Christ And His Church: Her Dogmas And Her Saints, with Moral Reflections, Critical Illustrations and Explanatory Notes by the Rev. Henry Rutter, Rev. Alban Butler, Rev. J. O’Leary, D. D. and John Gilmary Shea, LL.D.

(wait, there’s more!)

With a Preface By the Rev. Charles Constantine Pise, D.D Containing Explanations on the Parables, Discourses and Miracles of our Saviour.

The Dogmas, Sacraments and Sacramentals of the Holy Catholic Church.

The Chief Points of Catholic Belief and the Great Articles of the Catholic Faith


I guess my aunt wanted me to have it because I was the one in the family who came closest to being a priest (a dream of every Irish-Catholic family).

DominicX's avatar

My mom has a wooden trunk that a relative of mine brought with him from Russia to the United States in the early 20th century, but the trunk itself dates far longer ago than that. It’s from at least the late 18th century. I remember the trunk always being at my grandmother’s house as a kid, in the living room—it now sits in the master bedroom of our house, mostly as decoration but also as a storage for various old photo albums and such. It’s definitely something I intend to keep.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Four generations on my mom’s side.

In-laws, wearing my husbands great-grandmothers ring, habe about six generations in the family Bible, etc…

Pachy's avatar

A heavy brass mortar and pestle. It was my great-grandmother’s and possibly she inherited it. Got to be well over a 100 years old.

dabbler's avatar

A photo of my great-grandfather, late 1800’s.
A sideboard chest of drawers that my grandfather made out of cherry wood from his groves, 1930’s.
I also have a tiger’s eye ring that my grandfather always wore, I suspect that is from early 1900’s.

dxs's avatar

The oldest piece that I can think of is a china set from my maternal great-grandmother. I have a figure of Jesus from my paternal great-grandmother. No idea how old they are, but the figure of Jesus is probably not that old…it was really only handed down to me.

marinelife's avatar

A coin from the 1700s that came down through my husband’s family. One my side, a pitcher that belonged to my great grandmother.

Coloma's avatar

I have an interesting hand painted box that contains several small tin type photos of an unknown grandmotherly woman and a girl of about 8.
There is a date of 1876 inscribed on the inside of the box itself with the intials S.B.C.
They are U.F.M.s
Unidentified family members. haha

The box also contains a strange ancient purple velvet plaque of sorts that holds hat pins and several pairs of knitted and crocheted baby hats & booties along with some misc. hair pins and a woven hat. There is also a cracked pocket knife with a bone handle and one tiny pearl button and a rusty bullet shell of some sort. 0-o
A mystery.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have my grandmother’s ring. It would be over 100 years old now. I also have my parent’s carving set with a bone handle that’s worn. I don’t know if it was passed down to them.

Aethelwine's avatar

I have a few books that were printed in the early 1880s that belonged to my grandfather.

Adagio's avatar

I have a delightful and very small birthday reminder book that belonged to my paternal great great grandmother, all the previous owners names are inscribed on the inside cover, it is something I really treasure and dates from the 1850s.

gondwanalon's avatar

N-word Hair Tobacco I got it from my Grandmother. One big tin that still has tobacco in it and one small un opened paper package of it. They are dated 1916. They aren’t worth much but are a true piece of history.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t say I have any kind of heirloom. We never had much and really, I could do without the memory.

augustlan's avatar

I have several things from my great-grandmother, who died at age 92, shortly before I got married the first time. I wore her wedding ring along with my own, and inherited her bakelite hand mirror, brush & buttonhook set. They are all safely packed away. Probably the oldest things I have are photos of her when she was a little girl, which hang on my family gallery wall. Probably from around 1900?

cazzie's avatar

Oh, gosh. I was given a sewing kit just this past Christmas. It was my husband’s Great Aunt’s and it contains items that were made by several members of that generation and older. If I had to make a general guess at to the date… I would say 1880? I also have an old steamer trunk that my husband’s Great grandfather came back from America with when he returned from preaching in Wisconsin because he had contracted TB. That we traced back to about 1860, I believe. Looks like this:

There are several older antiques in the house that were purchased by a childless great aunt and uncle and we inherited some of that and they were dated and valued. I think some were dated to the 1700’s, like a corner cupboard that has rosemalen on it, but most are from the 1800’s. There is one fantastic wall cupboard that I would love hung up in the kitchen and that dates way back to the early 1800’s, as does the kubbestol that sits in the livingroom, I think. The two oldest might be a whale oil burner and a wooden trencher bowl.

blueiiznh's avatar

I have one of my Great Great Grandfathers pocket watch.
It is the type with the chain that was put in a vest pocket. He worked in the Railroad industry so I know it was something he cherished day to day while working.
I am very proud to have this.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have a set of brass elephant bells that my great uncle brought back from the Burmese jungle. He was a member of “Merril’s Marauders.” His brother was a judge at the Nuremburg Trials. Sorry if that isn’t spelled right. I have his gavel. It is engraved with his name and below that it says Commander Dachau Detachment. I don’t really understand what his function was – I know that he was a Colonel, and he passed down all kinds of documents from the trials, including a seating chart of the courtroom, a list of the defendants and their charges, and even a program from the Christmas dinner served to the servicemen. However, according to the internet, there were only 7 judges and he wasn’t one of them. Maybe he had some lesser function or tried lower-profile war criminals. I just don’t know.

But my WWII stuff is not even close to the oldest heirlooms that I have. I just wanted to throw that in, in case someone could explain to me why the newspapers said he was a judge, and I have all of these papers from the trial and the gavel, but yet he is not listed as one of the seven judges. ???

Aethelwine's avatar

^^please tell me I’m not the only person who read brass elephant balls

Earthgirl's avatar

I have a brass bracelet from Ceylon with elephants engraved on it; My father got it during his tour of duty in WWiII. My mother gave it to me. I’m not sure if my siblings would mind or not but It is precious to me. I also have a picture of him riding on an elephant and another where his skinny ass is on the beach, without a woman in sight yet still, reminding me of From Here to Eternity Lol!

augustlan's avatar

@jonsblond I totally read it that way, too. @Skaggfacemutt that is really interesting stuff!

dabbler's avatar

Aha! Just ran across my great-great grandfather’s civil war sword. That would be from the 1860’s. It is not fancy at all (so it’s not on display, etc., and why I didn’t think of it earlier) but it looks like it could get the job done.

and yes, ‘brass elephant balls’ is exactly what I read at first, too!

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