There's simply no telling when or where a piece of history may show itself. Often, it's in a time, place or moment that is completely unexpected – like the Canby Kiwanis Thrift Store, for instance.
But that's exactly what happened last week when Agnes Vangsnes pulled an old binder from the back of a shelf, opened it up and came face-to-face with something very unique – a 1730 German language Bible.
Days later, the excitement of the find is easily detectable in her voice.
"It's phenomenal," said Vangsnes of the find. "And to find one in this condition, it's incredible."
The road to this discovery actually began for Vangsnes around 2004 when she became manager of the thrift store. She'd noticed an old book, but didn't really pay it much attention and stowed it in a locked cabinet the store uses for important documents, etc.
Fast forward to last week. Vangsnes and the staff were updating the store's files and shredding old files they no longer needed. One of the staff told Vangsnes that they should wait and use Canby's annual Shred-it Day to get rid of all they didn't want in one, easier scoop.
"I had the box of files and tried to push it up into a shelf and it wouldn't go," said Vangsnes. "So, I got up there and found this book in the back blocking the box."
This time, she took a much longer, more focused look at what she had. And found history staring back at her.
"I saw that it was in a foreign language and realized it was in German," she said. "Then I started looking a little harder and while the index was written in German, the first four books listed also were in English. I looked through a few more pages and found the date of 1730 in the front of the Bible. It just became overwhelming that I have a 287 year old Bible in the store."
There are no clues as to where it came from or who donated it, let alone how long it had been in the store. And, said Vangsnes, the thought of selling it hasn't been part of the discussion.
"The value is kind of priceless in terms of historical documents," she said. "I can't imagine how it was saved from destruction. It's pretty incredible."
Late last week, a representative from the Mt. Angel Abbey examined the book in preparation for the thrift store to donate it to them. It's the right thing to do, said Vangsnes.
"They have a lot of Bibles of different languages from the 1800s, but very few from the 1700s, which just increased the realization of how special this is," she said. "I can't even imagine selling it. The historical value is too important. They can preserve it very well and maybe find some history for it."