Folk Art Model Ship, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000 (1997)
$300 - $500 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
GUEST: Yes, I bought this at an estate auction about a year ago, and I was told at that time that it was carved by a merchant seaman in the early 1920s. My wife had just read something about pond yachts and when she saw this, she decided that maybe she wanted it, and we bid on it and we bought it.
APPRAISER: Well, it certainly comes from a great tradition of sailors making their extra pocket money. They did scrimshaw, they did ships in bottles that we know of very well, and even very large pieces like this. This is probably a little earlier, though, than the 1920 date that your friend got it. In fact, it's probably turn-of-the-century. And it's very unusual to have a ship that's four-masted.
APPRAISER: What most collectors really like are American boats. I have to tell you, you don't have an American boat. You have a foreign piece. So this was probably a sailor that traveled the seas to Asia somewhere, and the reason I know that is the indigenous woods that were used are teak and bamboo. So these would all be materials that would be found in Asia, and then on the long trip back at the turn of the century, he probably carved this.
GUEST: I wondered, because typically if you're on a ship, you don't normally carry things with you like that. They must have brought it with them.
APPRAISER: Model ships and marine art are very, very collectible right now. Do you have any idea what this is worth? Or what did you pay for it?
GUEST: I paid $175 for it at auction.
APPRAISER: Wow, $175.
GUEST: I have no idea what it's worth.
APPRAISER: Well, it is in pretty good condition.
APPRAISER: Something this big with the original sails, the original tying still intact, and if it had a signature, it would be worth even a little bit more.
APPRAISER: But your $175 actually should be worth an investment of about $5,000 to $7,000.
GUEST: Wow, thank you. That's great, it really is.
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