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Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

Article about: I have what we have always been told is a doorknob from the Nuremberg Courthouse. It belonged to my son's ex-girlfriend. We were told her grandfather, who was a US soldier during WWII, broug

  1. #1

    Question Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    I have what we have always been told is a doorknob from the Nuremberg Courthouse. It belonged to my son's ex-girlfriend. We were told her grandfather, who was a US soldier during WWII, brought it back from Germany. Apparently there was a lot of 'raiding' & that is how he obtained it. I have an offer from a man who deals with Sotheby's & Christy's auction houses. I am totally in the dark as to the value of the artifact & if it is a fair offer. Also, I am having a difficult time finding any info on the grandfather- I do not have his name; only his children & grandchildren's names. We have lost touch with the ex-girlfriend.
    Can anyone help with either an appraisal or advice on how to determine the value or how to find the name of the grandfather?
    Is it true that a backstory gives an item more value (this is what the dealer said)?? What about yard sale finds, etc?? Are they of lessor value, due to no backstory?
    The doorknob is very heavy metal. The dimensions are approximately 5 1/2 inches in diameter (the top/main part); the bottom/base is 2 1/2 inches in diameter & the grooved/hole is 3/8 inch in diameter.
    Thank you in advance for any info or advice you can give me.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture IMG_6601.jpg   IMG_6563.jpg  

    IMG_6605.jpg   IMG_6576.jpg  

    Last edited by MMalaney; 12-10-2011 at 01:37 AM. Reason: mistake in measurements

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Welcome to the forum MMalaney,

    Indeed background, or provenance will always add to any item's historical value. The simple fact is, buyers want to know where and how the seller acquired the piece in question. Now regarding the doorknob shown above, I personally wouldn't believe the story unless there was some sort of proof, i.e. photographic evidence at least. If as you say, it is impossible to trace the grandparents then that is a real pity, as you would have at least an outside chance of acquiring some information. I found a few photos of the courthouse interior, and have attached them just for the sake of interest.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Nuremberg 1.jpg   Nuremberg 2.jpg  

    Nuremberg 4.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Hi, and welcome to the forum!

    To be honest, I would say it is too large to be a door knob and to me it looks like something taken from a peice of Far Eastern made furniture.

    The key here would be to find a photo of it in use.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Hi, and welcome to the forum!



    The key here would be to find a photo of it in use.

    Cheers, Ade.
    That's what I thought Ade, and I tried to find some shots of doors inside the courtroom. Those above are not the best photographs, but still show different handles. That being said, there would be many doors inside of course. This piece is rather large though.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Can't shed any light on the connection with Nuremberg - BUT - this same motif was quite common before WWII - I used to work in the Harris Library building in Preston, Lancashire (built 1882) and it has this same design as a border around many of the etched glass window panels in the very large doors - mostly in the non-public areas - a matching door knob would be a distinct possibility, though I don't recall any - will look next time I am there.

    Have to say looking at the construction too - my first thought would be older that 1930s/40s - especially with that very coarse thread where it originally arttached.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Really? That's interesting Nick. Preston eh? Fancy that...do keep us updated next time you are over there.

    Regards,

    Carl
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Thank you, Carl, Nick & Ade, for your replies. I have been looking for some time for photos inside the courthouse, as well as anything that help me determine just what this piece is. This is certainly not my area of expertise. I am a single parent, living near Hollywood; having a difficult time financially & trying to drum up some $. I was hoping this would help.
    I will check into the info you gave me to try to help determine exactly what this is. I certainly don't want to misrepresent an artifact as something it is not. I am also curious as to just what it IS.
    So I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge & to respond.
    Many thanks.
    Roxy

  8. #8

    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Hi Roxy, I saw a documentary several years ago about the old German Embassy in London, called the Prussia House at #9 Carlton House Terrace. I don't remember who owns it now, but much of the interior remains unchanged. I do remember seeing a door pull on a door that had that design on it. The pull looked slightly larger than yours. The design was also on a stair railing. If you could find photos of them, that would at least narrow your piece to the Third Reich era. Unfortunately, I can't remember who made the documentary. At least the building still exists and it was used as Germany's Embassy, from 1928 till the start of the war. With a little research, you might be able to find out who owns the building now. A quick email might then get you some photos. That's alot of "mights" but good luck, and may the Swartz be with you!

    Jay

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    A quick check to determine if its German at all is the thread type and form to be German it must have a sixty degree internal V form anything else eg 55 deg means its UK unless its a UN form which is at sixty but the pitch will then determine again if it is definately metric pitch or a UN TPI. Sorry if it sounds a bit convoluted but this my part of my job as a technical designer - engineering.
    Take it to any local Engineering workshop / subcontractor and they will determine the thread profile and pitch for you.

    Cheers Martin.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Trying to determine the value of a doorknob taken from the Nuremberg Courthouse at the end of WWII

    Hi Guys,
    I'm sorry I haven't checked in for some time; lost several family members, including my best buddy/cousin, my niece & my dad.
    Thank you Jay & Martin, for taking the time to join in & share your knowledge & opinions. Thanks again to Carl, Ade & Nick as well. I will keep you posted on anything new that I might find, including the thread profile. And if you happen to come across clues as to just what this might be, well, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to try to help me figure this out.

    Ciao,

    Roxy

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