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Medieval dark blue and burgundy church stained glass. Window frame with colored glass mosaic. Square tile art glass in the style of tiffany. Illustration

Source: Yuri Parmenov / Getty

Hickman Temple AME, an African American Church in West Philadelphia, had two rare Tiffany rose windows that were sold to an antiques collector in November 2022 for $6,000.  The windows were auctioned at a Philadelphia based auction house on May 18th for $200,000.  The church was built by Presbyterians in 1898.

In 2017, Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections forced the congregation to relocate.  The front of the building was separating from the main part of the building. Although $75,000 were raised for repairs in 2018, a local preservation architect told the congregation that permanent repairs would cost more than $1 million.

Hickman withdrew its application for historic designation to the University City Historical Society in January 2022. In an interview with Axios, Hickman’s Pastor, Rev. Gregory Nelson said that he wanted “to sell the property and downsize to a smaller space.”  Nelson also said that his congregation was shrinking, and that the historical designation was forced down their throats.

Located at the corner of 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue, Hickman occupied an entire block and was considered a neighborhood icon.  Emmanuel Christian Center reportedly purchased the property last June for $1.7 million. Renovations on the 15,000 square foot church has stopped because Emmanuel needs additional funding. Emmanuel was planning on destroying the stained-glass windows. The antiques collector had the windows removed then appraised by the auction house, which determined that the windows were created in 1904 by Tiffany studios.