Sarah Seippel | October 10, 2023

family heirloom needlepoint family tree
This needlepoint family tree hangs above my father’s desk. It is a stunning and sentimental creation that serves as a decorative masterpiece and a historical record. It isn’t easy to find similar artifacts with such pristine details.
Photo by Sarah Seippel

What choices would you make if presented with the chance for eternal life? The notion of the elixir of life has woven itself through mythology, literature, and diverse cultural traditions across the annals of time. Its appeal lies in several compelling aspects, such as embracing immortality, enduring vitality, and extended longevity. Humanity has always been fascinated with the concept of everlasting existence or the substantial prolongation of our earthly journeys.

While the elixir of life remains a mythical construct, a collection of treasures in the contemporary world possesses profound significance spanning generations. What may surprise you is the potential presence of these items, concealing themselves in plain sight all around you.

Family Heirlooms: Keys to Unlocking Immortality

vintage school yearbook
Family heirlooms can vary widely depending on a family’s history, traditions, and interests. In September 2022, this vintage 1994 ACTA Blair Academy Yearbook sold on eBay for $39.99.
Source: WorthPoint

Can family heirlooms, when understood in a specific context, reveal the more profound desire for immortality and the longing to transcend the boundaries of time? To put it simply, yes. While heirlooms might not grant physical immortality, they embody the human desire for continuity, the preservation of values, and the emotional connections of those who came before us. Heirlooms often carry the history and stories of previous generations. Keeping them within the family ensures that these narratives, memories, and traditions are preserved and passed down to future generations, fostering a sense of connection to one’s roots.

Grandfather Clock: The Wise Old Tick-Tocker

Just recently, my father, the founder and CEO of WorthPoint, started opening up his home’s exceptional collections to the public through videos and articles. Writing about these impressive assemblages has granted me a remarkable chance to forge a deeper connection with him and his dedication to preserving history. This experience has broadened my perspective on antiquing and preservation and enabled me to strengthen my ties to our family’s heritage. Most notably, a grandfather clock has significantly brought us closer together recently.

Love is Like a Clock—Constant, Dependable, and Timeless

grandfather clock family heirloom
This is the grandfather clock that proudly rings every hour on the hour in my family’s home. Grandfather clocks can vary widely in price, with Chippendale clocks sitting at the high end.
Photo by Sarah Seippel

I am unsure what brought my father to the story of this old clock. Anyone close to him knows his love for storytelling is profound, and he can make a cross-connection appear out of thin air. Regardless of how we got onto the topic of the old clock, my father began to tell me a historical tale of love and betrayal. Clocks may not be my preferred niche, but a romantic drama piqued my interest.

It all started many years ago when my great-great grandfather and his son were employed by a company known as the Sonora Record Company. During their time there, the company enjoyed a considerable reputation. Regrettably, the Sonora Record Company eventually faced failure, but amid the downturn, one particular grandfather clock managed to escape the ordeal.

To provide some context, our family didn’t craft the inner workings of this grandfather clock; instead, they were responsible for producing its case and chimes. Now, my great-grandfather, a romantic at heart, lived in a bygone era when men courted women. Knowing that the men in my family tend to lose their senses when smitten, it can be no surprise when my father shared that my great-grandfather had given the clock to his then-girlfriend as part of his courtship era.

Even more fascinating is that she departed, accompanied by another suitor, and took the clock with her. In due course, the grandfather clock returned to its original owner. This tale transpired in an era when one couldn’t effortlessly track the whereabouts of a family heirloom using the internet, and the story was so bewildering that it even attracted attention in the local newspaper. The woman’s motive for returning the clock remains a mystery to me.

The WorthPoint Vault

The idea that family heirlooms can embody the essence of the elixir of life may seem implausible, and like any psychological concept, it leaves ample room for human error. Questions arise, such as, “What if the item is passed on to someone, and its location becomes untraceable?” or “What if an item is damaged or not authentically preserved?” These “what-ifs” hardly occupied my father’s thoughts until he encountered the unimaginable.

In late September 2022, Hurricane Ian devastated my father’s Florida residence, carrying away numerous items from his lifelong collections and memorabilia. The storm surge and fierce winds wreaked havoc on coastal areas, and these regions are still recovering. This heartbreaking incident served as a stark reminder for my dad that one cannot assume that even the most meticulously cared-for possessions can weather the storm.

Luckily, a year earlier, my father had planned the launch of a WorthPoint product fit for this exact issue: What if a database existed to safeguard and preserve our cherished collections for generations to come? Enter the WorthPoint Vault.

WorthPoint Vault
Preserve any possession with the WorthPoint Vault.
Source: WorthPoint

In essence, the WorthPoint Vault serves as a platform for individuals to archive their cherished possessions, transforming their histories into something more enduring. Think of it as an tailored to your most beloved treasures. The tool lets you record an item’s pricing history, purchase background, and any unique features or significance. Plus, users can tag and group their items together, and there’s even an option to share these cataloged treasures with others, making it an invaluable resource when contemplating acquiring similar items.

Happy Hunting!

Everyone has a unique perspective regarding what is worth preserving in their family. While some people may spend their days hunting down family letters sent during wartime and other family documents, others meticulously care for their grandmother’s antique pianos and sewing machines. Each individual holds something different near and dear to their heart. That’s what counts.

Are you interested in learning more about what your family treasures are worth? Make sure to check out the WorthPoint Price Guide to learn more!

Sarah Seippel is a freelance writer and finds much of her inspiration in her father’s unique collections. In her free time, she enjoys hunting down the best cup of coffee and pursuing for vintage deals.