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If you look it up in Webster, the word heirloom had in the past a very official and legal sounding definition. Nowadays an heirloom is normally something that has been in a family for many generations and has been handed down by family members as time passes. In most cases an heirloom can have more sentimental value than monetary value; in some cases it has both. Heirlooms can be just about anything handed down; antique furniture, jewelry, paintings and artwork as well as ceramics, glass and even bibles and books.
A recent story in the news told of a centuries old violin that was stolen from a woman in Oregon. Described in the article as a family heirloom given to the owner by a great aunt, the violin had been appraised at $50,000. Another story recently told of a bravery medal discovered by police at a pawn shop in Louisiana. It turns out the medal was awarded to a police officer in North Wales over seventy years ago. Although no one can put a monetary value on the medal, it certainly had sentimental value to the family of the former officer.