Eagle Riding Toy, ca. 1895

Value (2005) | $3,000 Auction$4,000 Auction

This eagle belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. My mother's 89 years old. She was born in 1916. So we think that my grandmother bought this eagle for her about 1918 or 1919. We were cleaning out my grandmother's closet after she died, and this was back in the back of the closet. It hadn't been touched for years.

Well, it is pretty amazing and in pretty wonderful condition, and have you discovered anything about it?

There's an emblem underneath telling where it was made.

Oh, yes. So we do know it's a manufactured piece. It was made by S.A. Smith in Vermont. They were makers of a wonderful array of wooden riding toys. I can remember the first one of these I saw was about 35, 40 years ago when I first got in the business. And we didn't know it was manufactured. We thought it was a folk art piece. And then we discovered that Smith had made them. And they made a battleship. They made cars. They made a variety of things, and they all were made with this flat wood construction. But we've always found that this is the most spectacular piece they made. And it was made right around 1895-- wonderful piece of patriotic Americana. Even down to the shield right here on the seat-- "America." The child would sit here, of course, and this is how he would steer. So it's a wonder any of them survived. I've seen three or four over the years. It's a great riding toy by one of the great makers, and this is a pretty decent example. I've done a little research. The last one of these I know of selling at auction sold about ten years ago for $2,500. So I think on today's market, this could easily bring $3,000 to $4,000.

Oh, my goodness. I am thrilled to death.

Well, it's because it's in such great condition. It's just a fabulous piece.

My mother is going to absolutely be thrilled.

Appraisal Details

Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, PA
Appraised value (2005)
$3,000 Auction$4,000 Auction
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)

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