xxIn many areas of antique collecting, condition is everything. Coins must be mint, glass must be flawless, and ephemera must be extra fine. However, finding a 200-year-old cookie board in fine condition is unrealistic. The simple fact that wooden cookie and cake boards were a utilitarian object, suggests that they would suffer some wear from general use. Let's face it, these molds were mostly carved for use in bakeries, not to decorate living room walls. Bakers who used these molds didn't handle them with kid gloves. Cookie boards could be found stacked on the floor or on shelves. The bakers would smack the corners of the boards against the work tables to help release the dough from the mold. Some molds required that a knife be used to help pry the dough from highly detailed areas of the board. Molds were undoubtedly dropped on the floor and tossed across work surfaces. In haste, bakers sometimes set molds down on hot surfaces, leaving burn marks in the wood. The boards were washed and then left to dry, sometimes in the dank basement of the bakery, which invited wood rot. Animal fats in the dough were absorbed by the wood, which in turn attracted wood-boring insects.

Cookie and cake boards were not meant to last for centuries so that they could become a highly sought-after form of folk art. That said, collectibility in terms of condition is extremely subjective and left for the individual collector to evaluate. For myself, a board with extreme age or rare design is still desirable even if it has significant damage. That doesn't mean I will accept a mold in any condition. However, if I find an early 18th century board which has cracked in half and been skillfully repaired, I might still buy it. The fact is that just about every board in my collection has some sign of wear, and this will hold true for just about every collector of wooden molds.

Let's take a look at some of the common condition problems found in cookie and cake boards. By clicking on each individual link, you can view examples of condition problems, as well as explanations of what causes these problems.

Splits, Cracks and Warpage
Woodworm
Excessive Wear
Wood Rot
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