Civil War Pipe Bowl, ca. 1862
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (0:00)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: It's from my husband's family. It was a gift, apparently, from his great-grandfather Daniel Larabee. Hand-carved to give to his future father-in-law, Jonathan Shaw. It, um, was carved on the battlefield of Antietam. It lists his unit, Massachusetts Volunteers. He was wounded at Antietam. He had been previously wounded with an arm injury two months before in another battle.
APPRAISER: He wasn't having very much luck.
GUEST: No, no.
GUEST: He had a lot of time to carve.
APPRAISER: That's exactly where I was headed. You know, when you're thinking about the Civil War, we're always thinking about battles and action and things are going on, but the truth is, there's a lot of camp life, there's a lot of boredom. And one of the favorite things that they liked to do was carve these pipe bowls. Some guys got so good at carving these pipe bowls that other gentlemen would pay them to make one for them. They can be very simple or very elaborate. Occasionally they'll have figures on them. They might have a date, they might have a battle, they might not. So what we have with your pipe bowl, is we actually have the battle, so if we take a look, it says "From the...battle...field of”… It's kind of awkward... "...Antietam." And then it moves in to the presentation, which is very nice. It says, "Presented... to Jonathan... Shaw by D.W. Larabee." And then on the other side, and this is very important, it gives us "Company F, 22nd Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers." So, when you start off, you might have a pipe bowl that doesn't have a great deal going on, maybe a couple of figures, maybe it lists the battle. Then you can move up to where it does have a nice figural carving, it lists the battle, and then it lists the person who owned the pipe bowl. But that's really what you're looking for,
APPRAISER: that's what's special. If you look at this large American shield that's on the front of this thing,
APPRAISER: it's so high relief, carved off, that's very special. That's something that would attract a collector a great deal. If it was just kind of a plain pipe bowl, not too much going on, but a little carving, it might sell for around $1,000. But you have all the bells and whistles here. If I had this pipe bowl in a retail situation, I would want $3,000 for it. It has everything a collector looks for. It gives you the name of the regiment, it has nice figural carving, and it names the battle.
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