The search for Pennsylvania German antiques frequently leads down curious channels. Evert collector can tell you a strange story about one or more pieces which have come into his, or her, possession. Sometimes they story is more interesting and possesses more human interest than does the article itself.
Miss Frances Lichten, the well known artist for Collier’s publishers, is a collector of Pennsylvania pieces. She has supplied Scholla with the following account of a transaction that took place at Jonestown, Lebanon County.
A dealer in antiques drew forth one panel of an old dower chest and showed it to Miss Lichten, exclaiming, “I’ll bet you never saw this design before on a dower chest!”
Miss Lichten eyed the one-half of the board which contained the panel and then said:
“When you visit my place, I will show you something.”
Several weeks later the dealer stopped at the Lichten home, accepting the invitation. And then Miss Lichten exhibited the exact duplicate of the panel which she had seen in Jonestown! It was the other half of the panel board. The saw-cuts fitted perfectly when the two pieces were compared.
The dealer had purchased his panel from a Lebanon family. It had been stored in the cellar of the same house for more than 100 years, at least the dealer had been informed.
Miss Lichten had found her piece in the window of a junk shop in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia dealer made no pretensions to being a student of antiques and could supply no information to the source of his wares. The artist who designed the panel lived late in the 18th century. This is established by the fact that a dated piece made by the unknown artist has been found. no one knows how the two parts of the panel became separated.
Illustrations by Leroy Gensler, September 9, 1946 Reading Times