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    North Carolina Moravian Flask, ca. 1815

    Appraised Value:

    $15,000 - $25,000 (2012)

    Appraised on: June 23, 2012

    Appraised in: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

    Appraised by: C. Wesley Cowan

    Category: Folk Art

    Episode Info: Myrtle Beach (#1707)

    Originally Aired: February 18, 2013

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Flask
    Material: Pottery
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $15,000 - $25,000 (2012)

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    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (3:22)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    C. Wesley Cowan
    Arms & Militaria, Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Photographs

    Cowan's Auctions, Inc.

    Appraisal Transcript:
    APPRAISER: So tell me about this great little bottle that you brought in.

    GUEST: Well, it was my grandmother's, and they called it a doll. She said that it was her great-grandmother's doll. My great-great-great-grandmother lived in North Carolina. But at some point, they traveled out to Missouri and then came back to North Carolina. And that's really all the history I have on the doll.

    APPRAISER: And where in North Carolina were they from?

    GUEST: Winston-Salem.

    APPRAISER: That's a great little heirloom, and what do you do with it now?

    GUEST: Dust it. That's about it.

    APPRAISER: Yeah, and the story is that your grandmother used this as a toy?

    GUEST: She played with it, she played with it. And we don't know why there's a hole in the head. I don't know if there used to be another type of hair coming out or what, but she's got a hole in her head.

    APPRAISER: Yeah, she certainly does. Well, when you told me that your family was from Winston-Salem, that was one of the clues to help me identify this little flask.

    GUEST: Okay... oh, you're k...

    APPRAISER: And this is a very rare bottle. It was made by Moravian potters.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: In Salem, North Carolina. Salem was the center of Southern pottery making. The industry began there in the mid-18th century. But this style of bottle was made in the first couple decades of the 19th century. This was probably made 1810 to 1830.

    GUEST: Wow, wow.

    APPRAISER: Whether they were used for spirits or whatever, but the hole is where a cork was. So it was not a doll.

    GUEST: Oh... (laughs) Okay.

    APPRAISER: It was actually used to store liquid in. The Moravian potters of Salem-- or what's commonly known today as Old Salem-- made a number of forms like this. They made a squirrel holding a nut, a fish, a turtle.

    GUEST: Right.

    APPRAISER: The doll is probably the one you see more often than anything. The necklace somebody added.

    GUEST: Yes, I think my grandmother did that. She was very handy.

    APPRAISER: Okay, so she wanted to dress her doll up. And although it's really hard to see when you look at her crossed hands, she's holding a little bouquet of flowers. Now, one thing I should also tell you about this, when you look at the side, do you see the mark here? The vertical mark here?

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: This was made in a mold, in a pressed mold. So the clay was put together, then they pushed the mold together to make it. It was not a hand-thrown bottle, it was a mold-made flask. These are very collectible and very desirable. Have you ever had anybody look at it and say, "Hey, I'd like to buy that from you."

    GUEST: No.

    APPRAISER: This flask would sell at auction for between $15,000 and $25,000.

    GUEST: That's amazing. So I'll keep on dusting it. Maybe I'll put it away so it doesn't get dusty. That's wonderful, that's wonderful.



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