Philadelphia Man Pays $6,000 for Old Church Windows; They Turned Out to be Tiffany Glass


A Pennsylvania man got more than he bargained for – and paid for – after purchasing two cracked and dirty rose windows for just $6,000 from an old church, not knowing that they may be worth up to a quarter million dollars at auction.

Paul Brown, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, bought the windows last fall from a rundown Gothic Revival church that was built in 1901 in West Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The church’s new owner, the Emmanuel Christian Center, had planned to remove the windows from the church’s wall during the conversion of the building into a worship space and youth center.

Brown later found out from the Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia that the windows were originally made by Tiffany Studios and could fetch between $150,000 and $250,000. Freeman’s estimates that the windows were likely commissioned around 1904 as part of an expansion of the former St. Paul's Presbyterian Church.

“New sources of wealth in America following the Civil War coupled with socio-religious factors saw the creation of new or refurbished religious edifices in the modern taste,” Freeman’s wrote in its news release on the windows being put up for auction. “Set high in the chapel of St. Paul’s Presbyterian, these brightly colored roses are illustrative of the aesthetic and spiritual impact Tiffany’s art in glass had on their commissioning congregations.”

Freeman’s sent the windows to a restoration firm in upstate New York, which spent roughly three months cleaning them and making them suitable for auction, the Inquirer reported. The windows are set to go to auction at 11 a.m. on May 18.

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