18th-Century North American Indian Burlwood Bowl
Appraised Value: $40,000 - $60,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (-1:40:46)
Senior Vice President & Director, American Folk Art
GUEST: It's been in my family for at least 80 years. My grandfather bought it sometime in the 1920s at a sale in Nova Scotia, Canada. Family history has it that it's Micmac Indian, from the east coast of Canada. Walnut is supposedly what it is.
GUEST: My brothers and I were all pushed around the living room in this.
APPRAISER: You must have come from strong stock. Well, this has created quite a stir. Although everybody is of a like mind that it's Native American made and probably from the Canadian Maritime area, one of those tribes, nobody's exactly sure whether or not it's Micmac or Passamaquoddy or Malecite. There are a number of tribes that are in that area. But it is the consensus amongst those of us who are here today that it's made out of elm wood. Elm. Which is an indigenous tree to that particular area of the northeast of America. And if you look at the side of the bowl here, you see this elongated grain, which is typical of elm wood. It's a burl bowl. It's made out of that knot of burl that is particularly well suited to this kind of a container, because it doesn't split. These fibers of the wood are actually locked in together, and so it makes it very adaptable for scooping out and shaping. It's about 24 inches in length. It's 16 1/2 inches in width, and about nine inches in height. So that makes it unusually large for this kind of a piece. The value, which has a lot to do with the size and the patina and the beauty of this bowl, might have been around $15,000 ten years ago. But in today's market it's probably worth, at auction, between $40,000 and $60,000.
GUEST: Whoa! Okay. I wasn't going to be surprised, but you got me. (laughing)
APPRAISER: It's just a fabulous, fabulous piece, and everybody's been talking about it.
GUEST: And how old would you say it is?
APPRAISER: 18th century.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.