Appraisal Video: (3:35)
J. Michael Flanigan
Folk Art, Furniture
J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
GUEST: I got these pieces from a friend of mine who lives in Seattle, Washington, and he got them from his grandmother, who lived on Puget Sound, and I hear that they were made in the 1930s by a sort of reclusive man who also built her cabin on the Puget Sound.
APPRAISER: Can I ask you, do you have a favorite among these?
GUEST: Absolutely, this one right here.
APPRAISER: You like this one best.
GUEST: I do, I do.
APPRAISER: And does your husband have a favorite?
GUEST: Um, I think, well, actually I think it's the ship.
APPRAISER: So when we're all done with this, is there a bar bet as to which one is worth more? Somebody's going to get taken out to dinner, or take somebody out to dinner?
GUEST: Yeah, well, I guess we will do that. I'm going to think that one, and I think he's going to think that one.
APPRAISER: Okay, and I'm going to settle the bar bet quickly, okay?
APPRAISER: This one is way better...
APPRAISER: than this one. Okay?
APPRAISER: Okay, and what's fascinating to me is if we put them in at auction, I'm reasonably certain that the bison, the ship and the horse would be on the lower three and that these three would be the upper three.
APPRAISER: This example over here, which it's not really easy to see, but he's eating a bird, and there's actually red painted in there. It is carved out of a solid burl, which is those big notches in the side of a tree...
GUEST: Sure, yeah, I know what they are, yeah.
APPRAISER: Which is extremely difficult to carve. It's dense, but everything about this... I mean it's exquisite.
GUEST: Oh, I love it.
APPRAISER: It is just a killer. Now when we look at this one here, again it's also carved completely out of burl.
APPRAISER: Here we have a figure, with their hairdo and the rest, clearly 1930s, clearly...
GUEST: Oh, because of what she's wearing, oh, yeah.
APPRAISER: Yeah. Clearly emphasizing her form. The horse and all, very romantic looking, and just a brilliant use of the burl in the way...
GUEST: Oh, just frames it.
APPRAISER: He's got that framed, it's carved out of the solid, it's at high relief.
APPRAISER: It's a kicker, okay?
APPRAISER: In every way. Then we get to my favorite, which is yours as well.
GUEST: Yes, yes, yes.
APPRAISER: Which is this one. Now, we just have to point out, and I get to do this visually, that we're missing probably some sort of whip.
GUEST: Oh, a whip, oh, yeah.
APPRAISER: That was here. In here we have a leopard that's not only carved, but painted. And this is carved out of a solid block.
APPRAISER: And I'm going to turn it on its side just for a second to show it's not a parlor trick. That's a solid block of wood.
GUEST: That's a solid piece of wood.
APPRAISER: So, when you think of how he did this, he had to carve into it, knowing what he would leave behind.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: In other words, he didn't carve it and then put the animal in. He had to carve around what he would know he would leave.
GUEST: That's awesome.
APPRAISER: This is an incredible, wonderful, almost surreal with this circus figure and in the cage. To me, this is a folk masterpiece.
APPRAISER: Now, there's nothing wrong with these...
APPRAISER: But they're not as interesting. They don't sing to you, they don't jump. So, I know you want to keep them.
APPRAISER: Let's say for insurance purposes, which I think you're going to want to do when you get home...
APPRAISER: These, $500, $500, $500. These, $5,000, $5,000, $5,000.
GUEST: Oh, my God! (laughs) That's so awesome!
APPRAISER: And I'm being conservative.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness, oh!
APPRAISER: They are fantastic carved objects.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness, that is so awesome. Thank you so much.