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    Mid-19th Century American Whirligig

    Appraised Value:

    $20,000 - $25,000

    Appraised on: August 23, 1997

    Appraised in: Nashville, Tennessee

    Appraised by: Peter Curran

    Category: Folk Art

    Episode Info: Unique Antiques (#1120)

    Originally Aired: November 19, 2007

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Whirligig
    Material: Wood
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $20,000 - $25,000

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    Appraisal Video: (1:42)


    Appraised By:

    Peter Curran

    Appraisal Transcript:

    GUEST: It was on my great aunt's husband's family's barn in Middletown, Connecticut. But about 25 years ago, she came home and someone was trying to take it off her barn, and she brought it down into her mud room, and that's really when I fell in love with him.

    APPRAISER: You inherited it, is that correct?

    GUEST: Yes, he was my first choice out of her estate.

    APPRAISER: What do you think it was used for?

    GUEST: Well, it's to tell you which way the wind was blowing. Can I spin it around?

    APPRAISER: Yeah, go ahead. Yep, it would rotate this way. Well, they're called whirligig, probably for the obvious reason. Nobody really knows exactly why they were made. Some people say they put them to scare away crows or whatever, or they're just pure fantasy pieces, you know, just kind of whimsies. But now they're collected as folk art. This one is a particularly good example. First of all, it's unusually large. And it also has the original stand. You can see where it was mounted on top of the barn. You'd never see that. They were often also mounted on fence posts. This particular example also has very, very fine finish, or surface to it. An old patina, the worn paint, all of this kind of thing adds to its value and its character. This particular example, I would guess, judging from the construction, is probably from the mid-19th century. It's a very important piece. I would say at auction, it would probably bring $20,000 to $25,000.

    GUEST: Get out of here! That's great!

    APPRAISER: It's really a delight to see it and I appreciate it.

    GUEST: Thank you very much, Peter.

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