1831 Needlework Print by Sarah Huls
Appraised Value: $25,000 - $30,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:25)
J. Michael Flanigan
Folk Art, Furniture
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
GUEST: My wife and I bought a house about eight years ago. We were cleaning it out, and there was a pile of debris in one of the bedrooms, and this was in that pile.
APPRAISER: Debris like "about to go to the trash"?
GUEST: This was about to go to the trash. I had it in my hands. I was walking down the hallway with it to take it out, and then I read that it was the prodigal son and thought that was a neat message to kind of keep around, but I thought I might be able to use the frame. So I took it back in the bedroom and it's pretty much been unused ever since.
APPRAISER: Did you pay a lot for the house?
GUEST: Well... I think I did, but other people might disagree.
APPRAISER: Well, let me tell you. This is a great object and it is a tremendous find. In the world of samplers and needlework collectors, the three things that people die for are strong graphics, which is something very strong in the pictorial, not just letters and numbers. They look for great documentation-- you know, who did it, when they did it, okay? But nowadays, we know that so many of these were done in schools. That... in other words, there were schools that were set up to teach ladies needlework, and we're able to do attributions based on we see enough of them. But we rarely see them where the name of the teacher is on there. And when you put together the great graphic interest that this one has-- I mean, the prodigal son is a fabulous image and a story-- and we say who it is… It says here "Sarah Huls wrought this in the 13th year of her age"-- that's pretty common, name and age, no big thing-- "under the tuition of Jemima Dumars, Pittsburgh, January 10, 1831." I mean, it doesn't get any better than that.
APPRAISER: It is fabulous. Now, on the downside, it's not framed very well.
APPRAISER: And we need to get it reframed. And the needlework is fairly broad. There's probably a print source that, if we had the time to research it, we could track it down, because they didn't draw these freehand. They usually relied upon English prints and other documented sources. But what we have here is that great confluence of all the stars coming into alignment and everything being just right. In today's market, I could see this doing at auction $25,000 to $30,000.
GUEST: You got to be kidding.
APPRAISER: No, I'm not kidding. And I can tell you that with a little bit of research and a little bit of homework, it might even do better than that.
GUEST: Are you serious? But I'm...
GUEST: That's why I said... I almost threw this away. Oh!
APPRAISER: I'm really glad you came from Cleveland. I really am.
GUEST: I guess I got to call my wife. (laughs) Oh! Man, I'm sorry. I got up at 4:00 in the morning to come here, so I'm a little punch-drunk as it is. Well... I don't know what to say. Thank you.
APPRAISER: You'll sleep easy tonight.
GUEST: Thank you. Oh, my God. Are you kidding me? (laughing)
APPRAISER: We don't do that on this show! (laughing)
GUEST: I kept this for the frame.
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