Tramp Art Frame with Scarf, ca. 1900
Appraised Value: $18,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:07)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
Ken Farmer Auctions, LLC
GUEST: Well, the flag was brought over by my great-grandfather, who was Belgian. And one of the curiosities is that it's all written in French. He brought the flag over as part of his possessions when they immigrated to the U.S. And the story that my grandmother always told me was that he started working on the frame on the boat coming over, carving it out of cigar boxes. And as we've researched it, we understand now it's kind of in the tramp art family of frames, if you will. But we've never been able to really pin down the significance of the flag.
APPRAISER: What year would they have immigrated?
APPRAISER: Okay. This is actually a scarf.
APPRAISER: The time period of the scarf is probably 1870s, 1880s. The reason that that scarf was created was to celebrate universal voting rights. I don't think it really had anything to do necessarily with women's rights. If it was published in France, women's voting rights in France weren't until, like, 1944.
APPRAISER: Think about the time period that this textile was created. That was when the French gave America the Statue of Liberty.
APPRAISER: And he came to this country seeking that very thing: freedom, the right to vote, the right to own property. It's a political scarf, and there were similar things printed in this country from 1860s, '70s, '80s-- presidential campaigns, all different kinds of things. The tramp art frame itself is fantastic. They made these out of little thin pieces of wood, as you know, which would have been... could have been cigar boxes. And tramp art is... I mean, they weren't necessarily made by tramps, they were just made by anonymous people. And built up in layers, and I like the way that all of this gives it this big three-dimensional effect. We assume that these frames are going to be... One this ornate, especially, seems like it would have been a little bit earlier than the time period that he came over.
APPRAISER: And also the varnish and the patina, and just the overall look of it has an earlier look to it. Now, I'm not saying that he couldn't have carved it on the ship, okay?
APPRAISER: The other point that I would make is that originally, there was a picture of somebody in there.
GUEST: Yeah. My great-grandfather's picture was in there. When we had it mounted, we didn't know that.
APPRAISER: Have you still got it?
APPRAISER: It'd be good to put it back in there. So bottom line, at a good show in New York, in a really good dealer's booth, I could see that frame being priced at $15,000.
GUEST: Really? Wow.
APPRAISER: Now, let's talk about the scarf. That to me lends a whole different characteristic to it and probably increases the value by another $2,000 or $3,000. Put your grandfather's picture back in there, I'd say you would want an insurance value of around $18,000.
GUEST: Very nice. Okay, good. Well, thank you.
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