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Ok this wreath has been in family for a few generations . One of her ancestors told the woman very very valuable and don’t sell. She was told by some appraiser in the past $200,000 but she knows little to nothing about the piece . I believe these are silk flowers but I see no markings of any kind anywhere on the piece . Aprox 15’’ in diameter I would say . Any help from my friends here to identify time period,maker,value much appreciated. Maybe it was from an historical figure funeral at one time . Her ancestors do trace back to Elmer Ellsworth. First union officier shot and killed in civil war . No idea.  Thanks for your help. John 

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Replies to This Discussion

Well John, it is entirely dependent on what these flowers are made from and the approximate age. 

There were five different materials used to do these floral sprays in the Victorian era. 

1. Human hair.  -These were made from the hair of the family members, especially those that may have passed away. In that case, they were done as a memorial piece in honor of that/those person(s). These bring the most $ from collectors.

2. Wax.. The art of Wax modeling is quite old, going back to at least 1700. These types of arrangements were also done by women of the Victorian era. These also bring good prices depending mostly on condition, and age of course.

3. Wool flowers. The making of wool flowers and placing them into large frames like yours, yet another pastime - also done mainly by females. These vary in price however, and do not bring near the amounts of the other top two examples.

4. Silk Flowers:  I put that here because silk flowers were not well known to the Victorians, being mainly an Asian art/craft. Except in the form of embroidery, which your example is clearly not.

5. Lastly, paper mache. Good ole paper mache was also used to do these floral sprays but here again they do not bring much $ due to the materials being inexpensive, and usually not that fine of an art form.

So, the only way to find out what you actually have here is to carefully remove the backing, and take a careful look. Removing a frame back will not harm any value btw. It's simply the only way to investigate what you've actually got. Also - weather the floral arrangement is fastened onto the board or not, you might want to use the non acidic foam board sold in any craft store currently, in place of the board, if possible, to try to preserve the flowers a bit better than the existing board and duct tape? Both the wood board and tape are acidic and will eventually eat away at whatever is on top of them. 

Hope that helps, and keep me posted if you learn more on this heirloom. It's very cool regardless of what it's made of. :)

Thank you Vicky for your help . John 


Here is an example of the wax flower wreath


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