Norwegian Burl Birch Peg Tankard, ca. 1730
Appraised Value: $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:35)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: This object I found in my mother's attic, so I brought it down and said, "Mother, what is this?" She said, "It was here when we bought the house in 1942. "The house was built in 1911 and '12. "I have no idea what it is, and I'm not interested. If you want it, take it home." So I did. And it's been in my basement, wrapped up, ever since.
APPRAISER: And you don't know anything about it?
GUEST: I really don't. I know it's very old. I can see the numbers on it, and the coin.
APPRAISER: What is the date that you saw on the metal mount?
GUEST: I believe it was 1726.
APPRAISER: Could you get the date off the coin?
GUEST: It might have been 1701.
APPRAISER: Very good, excellent memory. Now, do you know what it's made of?
GUEST: Some kind of wood?
APPRAISER: It is made of birch. But it's a special kind of birch. It's a kind of birch called burl birch. Any part of the burl of the tree is pretty resistant to liquids, which is why it makes the most sense to use it in a tankard. As we look at this, you notice it's missing the thumb piece. And the thumb piece here would have been carved probably with a lion or maybe a flower. And this is actually called a peg tankard. This would have been to measure out even quantities. An extremely important tankard to a family. Ceremonial, very good, and it comes from Norway.
GUEST: Really? I never would have guessed that.
APPRAISER: They're a pretty common form in Norway. And it's got this beautiful carved trailing tulip here. And there's that big, old coin sticking right in the middle there. We would date it probably to the first half of the 1700s. It's got nice carved lion feet here. These are all silver mounts, and we do have some silver issues here. There's a big crimp. If you look on in the inside, you can see all the burls.
GUEST: Oh, for heaven's sakes. Is it done by hand, do you think?
APPRAISER: Absolutely. It's actually very, very nicely done. And it's got wonderful surface to it. It's really quite lovely. And I would say for replacement purposes, you'd be talking a value of around $5,000 on it.
GUEST: $5,000? That is just wonderful.
APPRAISER: Not bad for a leftover in an attic.
GUEST: For a leftover in an attic and residing in my basement for a long time. Thank you so much. The mystery is solved. Wait till my brother finds out.
APPRAISER: I know.
GUEST: (laughing) Oh, that's just wonderful.
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