Turned Ash Burl Bowl, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $6,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:01)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
Ken Farmer Auctions, LLC
GUEST: This came from my grandmother's home, upstate New York. The home was built back in the early 1800s, sometime between 1800 and 1820, on a Revolutionary War grant, a land grant. And this came from the home. I really-- we always called it the "bread bowl."
APPRAISER: Well, in the business, we would refer to this as a "burl bowl."
GUEST: Burl bowl? Oh.
APPRAISER: A burl is on the side of a tree and it looks sort of like a wart, or a knot.
GUEST: Oh, yes.
APPRAISER: And so, the guy that made this had to have a burl about that big.
GUEST: Oh, my.
APPRAISER: Cut it off the tree,
APPRAISER: and then make a bowl out of it. And the thing about a burl is that it's very, very hard wood. And as you can see from looking inside of here, that the grain is all swirly...
APPRAISER: Well, the reason they made it out of burl was because it would stay stable more so than a straight grain would.
APPRAISER: Because all that grain was intermingled. The time period fits perfect with what you're saying-- 1815 or '20.
GUEST: Oh, my. Uh-huh.
APPRAISER: And the thing that I look for in these, is I look for lots of wear on the inside. You can see where they used tools on it and they put dough in it and they just used it. That's what you want to see. Now, the other thing about this one is that it was turned on a lathe. If you look real closely, you can see the rings underneath here, and if you run your hand over it-- Can you feel how uneven that is?
GUEST: Oh, my, yes. I never noticed that.
APPRAISER: The other thing that is great about it is that it has an oval shape. When it was made, it was perfectly round, but over the years, it expands and contracts, and it'll contract one way against the grain more so than another, so what was perfectly round becomes oval. I showed this to a couple of the other guys and we think it's made out of ash. You hear us talk about surface on the show all the time.
APPRAISER: For some things, it's not as critical as others, but in a burl bowl, that's very important, and it has a nice old surface. Now, where do you have this in the house?
GUEST: Well, it was sitting on top of our big old TV, holding DVDs and videotapes. (laughing)
1You got a big, wide spot on top of the television?
GUEST: Yes... Yes, I still have one of those old TVs. (laughing)
APPRAISER: Would you put less DVDs in it if I told you that, in a retail setting, this bowl's worth $6,000?
GUEST: Oh, my. Oh, my. (laughing) Oh, my. (laughing) I don't know what I'll put in it now. (both laughing)
APPRAISER: You might want to, at least, put it somewhere where you won't knock it off on the floor.
GUEST: That's right. Well, thank you; I'm just so pleased.
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