School of McIntire Carved Bellows
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $20,000 (1998)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:26)
GUEST: I inherited them from my grandmother, and I think she had them in her family, so I really don't know how old they are. And she thought they were French.
APPRAISER: Is this something that you use?
GUEST: Yes. I have used them, and now they are my granddaughter's.
APPRAISER: And you've used them?
GUEST: Yeah, I use them at Christmastime to help start the fire when it's crackling down.
APPRAISER: That's great. Well, this is quite an interesting object, actually. It's got a very distinctive type of carving. And this points to a different origin than French.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: Yes. It's got a very distinctive vocabulary of motifs. And these would be related to an important Salem, Massachusetts carver named Samuel McIntire.
APPRAISER: And Samuel McIntire and his son were both carvers in the early first decade, let's say, of the 19th century in Salem, Mass. And Samuel McIntire carved fireplace mantles, other architectural elements, furniture, and both Samuel McIntire and his son Samuel Field McIntire were known to have carved bellows. There's a bill that exists for Samuel McIntire where he's billing someone, let's say...I don't remember the exact amount. Like, four dollars for carving a bellows. And this was a lot more than his bill for carving a table leg. So this was a pretty special object even then. What points to McIntire for me is, for instance, the basket of flowers. You see that very often in his work. You see that on fireplaces, on sofas. The tassel and swag, the line of flowers, and especially the punched background with the punch work, giving it that textured background. This is all hand done, and it's really quite a rare object, and very sought after today. It's worth between $15,000 and $20,000.
GUEST: Oh, my God!
GUEST: You're kidding.
GUEST: Oh, my word.
APPRAISER: So next Christmas...
GUEST: You wouldn't kid me. I know you wouldn't kid me about it.
APPRAISER: Next Christmas you'll be more careful.
GUEST: Be very gentle with that bellows.
GUEST: Oh, my word.
GUEST: That's a lot of money.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
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