Caricature Whirligig, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $3,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:13)
Decorative Arts, Furniture
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GUEST: This was a collaboration between my uncle and his brother-in-law in, I think, very early 1920s. In later years, he took it out of an old box up in the rafters of his blacksmith shop, brought it down the ladder and gave it to me. And so it's been in the family now for a good long while.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. Well, it really speaks of the 1920s for me. Had you not told me that, I think that would have been my guess. It's a wonderful caricature. When I see it, I see a vaudeville dancer. It reminds me of some of the caricatures that you see of dancing toys. This is a whirligig. It's a wind-powered toy. Whirligigs were one of the first American garden ornaments. They were 18th century to begin with. This is a 20th-century one, but just as wonderful as any. It's missing a little part here.
GUEST: Yeah, the propeller probably blew off in a good stiff wind.
APPRAISER: So here would have been the propeller.
GUEST: Right, yes.
APPRAISER: And when the wind blew, this guy would have danced.
APPRAISER: Right. And when the wind really blew, his arms would have gone around as well.
GUEST: So he was a very active creature.
APPRAISER: And then how about that section?
GUEST: Well, that, of course, is the wind vane.
APPRAISER: The directional to keep him dancing.
APPRAISER: All of the gear mechanisms and findings on this whirligig are made of iron. The whirligig itself is a carved wooden piece with painted decoration. As I was talking with some of my colleagues at the folk art table, we were talking about the condition of this whirligig. Its finish and surface is a little rough. We came down on both sides of what to do with this figure, and I think we've decided that you should just leave him alone. He's wonderfully polychrome decorated and he's got varnish on him, but you still see his bright yellow bow tie coming through here, and his wonderful features and caricature, his hat, which has a gold band on it. And then those lovely colors are picked up in the directional as well here in yellow. I would probably estimate him at auction in the $3,000 to $5,000 range.
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