Gold Leaf Rooster Weathervane, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $30,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:05)
Metalwork & Sculpture
GUEST: And it was 35 years ago. I was working part-time in a gas station. And one of our customers come in and he told me that they were going to demolish a house down the street and if I wanted to buy anything, come on down and look around. So me and my mother went down, and we looked the house all over, and we were standing out front with the man afterwards, and I happened to look at the barn, and this weathervane was up on the barn. So I said to the man, "What's the story on the weathervane?" He said, "Oh, everything's for sale." He said, "They're going to bulldoze it here. They're going to build an apartment building. This is all coming down." So one thing led to another, and I said, "I'd like to buy the weathervane." So he says, "Come back here in two days, and I'll have it down for you." And I did. I went back in two days and he had it down, all in boxes for me, and here it is. I went to have it re-gilded one time, and I brought it to a guy who would do it for me, but he talked me out of it. He told me not to do it. So, as you can see, I took his advice and did not do it over.
APPRAISER: You know anything about the date of it or...?
GUEST: I contacted the historical society in our town, Wakefield, Massachusetts, and I asked the lady for an old picture of downtown Wakefield. And she gave me this picture. This is a picture of downtown Wakefield. And if you look real close, you can see the weathervane. This weathervane is up on the barn in the picture. And the picture is dated 1882.
APPRAISER: Well, this is a terrific weathervane. This is part of what we call folk art, American folk art.
APPRAISER: And although it does have an initial right over here on the bottom of his claw, the B, which is the company that actually made this, there were a lot of small companies that made them. And we're not sure of the company. But it was probably made around 1850.
APPRAISER: The earlier ones were flat, usually. And the ones more bellied designed, where they're three-dimensional, are from the mid-19th century.
GUEST: Oh, yeah? Okay.
APPRAISER: He didn't want you to touch the finish, because this is gold leaf on here. These are little patches of gold leaf. And the finish has been worn away, and that's why it looks a little distressed. But if you would have refinished this, you would have ruined the value on it.
GUEST: Really? Well, you know, well, that's what that man told me. Yeah, he was absolutely right.
APPRAISER: If you don't know, leave it alone.
APPRAISER: This is a wonderful piece. And I think you've got a bill of sale.
APPRAISER: Well, we sold one not too long ago for $22,000.
APPRAISER: This is worth about $30,000.
APPRAISER: And it's 1850, and it's just wonderful.
GUEST: 1850? Yeah? You think 1850?
APPRAISER: I can't believe all the gold leafing that's still left on it, and that's an important part of this piece.
GUEST: Really, huh?
GUEST: Great, that's good.
APPRAISER: You've got a real treasure here. Really a hot item.
GUEST: Well, you certainly just made my day. (both laughing)
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