1777 Engraved American Powder Horn
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $8,000 (1997)
$6,000 - $8,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:51)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
Ken Farmer Auctions, LLC
GUEST: My husband's grandfather had it in his house and it has sat on our mantelpiece for 40 years. I have no history on its real background, but it's been an enjoyable piece to have around.
APPRAISER: What we have here is an 18th-century American powder horn, and it's very finely carved. The master carvers on powder horns would use oxen horn usually because you can see that it has what is now a yellowed outside surface, but originally that was white. And to show off a little bit of his carving skills, he would go down here on the far end where they would get the powder out and do this cross-hatching and actually carve off the white section down to the green--just for the contrast-- and then they would put different motifs and sayings on this. This particular one... this saying goes all the way back to the French- Indian wars. It says right here, "Captain Nathaniel Comstock, his horn, powder with my brother Ball, hero-like doth conquer all."
APPRAISER: Besides his family and his home, what items would have been most dear to a man in the 18th century but his rifle and his powder horn?
APPRAISER: This is a military-size powder horn and what you'll see beyond the inscription is you have some very nice engravings on here that are more civilian in nature than they are military. This particular horn is also very desirable because it has the date "1777" on it. One other thing I would like for people to see is this mermaid right here. You can see her tail and she's got a heart right here, and in one hand she has a bottle and in the other hand she has a wine glass, I guess welcoming her gentleman back home with a drink as he comes in the door. Also has some nice crosshatch carving on the end down here. Had you ever given any thought to what something like this might be worth?
GUEST: I have... I would have no... couldn't even come... guess or come in anywhere near any idea of what it would be.
APPRAISER: Well, obviously I've talked enough about it to let you know that I think it's a pretty important thing, but bottom line on this type of horn, with these motifs, this crosses over from just being a military object to a decorative object, and I would say conservatively it would be worth $6,000 to $8,000.
GUEST: Oh. That's... that's quite overwhelming.
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