Black Forest Carved Barometer, ca. 1880
Appraised Value: $4,000 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:19)
GUEST: My business partner and I were making some calls, and we noticed it in a jewelry store and it was way up on a back shelf and wondered what it was, and he didn't know what it was, but he thought it was worth $1,000 so we bought it.
APPRAISER: Oh. Was it covered in dust?
GUEST: It was covered in dust. Basically, all we did was just blow it off, so there's still dust and things on it.
APPRAISER: Well, first of all, it's a barometer, and within this space here is a dial. It's calibrated to tell changes in barometric pressure so that you could, in fact, in some way, predict the weather. It is in the French language, so presumably this was used in a French setting. The casing for this, however, is more of a Black Forest carving, and we all are familiar with cuckoo clocks and other sorts of Black Forest carving, and this is of that basic genre, dating about 1880s. This figure here who is staring at me and making me very nervous as I'm talking to you is a lot more pleasant in many ways than some of the subject matter that are found on these clocks; that is, you know, dead deer and rabbits and pheasants and that sort of thing, so it's always sort of a hunt scene. Most people would think that these things were carved entirely by hand by various craftsmen, but these were roughed out by manufacturing methods and touched up by hand carving methods. There was probably a companion piece to this with the same sort of carving, only the companion piece would house a timekeeper, or a clock. As you'll notice, it's signed with a name here, "P. Michel." That's the carver. You said you paid $1,000. Were you nervous paying $1,000?
APPRAISER: Yeah, because you didn't know really what it was, right?
GUEST: I had no clue what it was other than the fact that it was just kind of cool.
APPRAISER: I think that this piece in a retail setting is probably closer to $4,000 today as this sort of carving is very popular in some circles, particularly in Europe.
GUEST: Hey, I wasn't taken.
APPRAISER: Thank you for bringing it in to the Antiques Roadshow.
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