German Clown Manivelle, ca. 1905

Value (2006) | $1,500 Retail$3,000 Retail

GUEST:
These clowns belonged to my uncle, and I would play with them as a child and, uh, I was told to be extremely careful with them, and to be very gentle with them. And so, uh, that's all I know about them is I know that he had them way before I was born. So, probably '20s or '30s, somewhere in that area.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, well... there are three clowns and they're on this wonderful wooden box, and it is operated with a crank, as you know.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And when you turn it, it plays the music. (light melody playing) This is called a manivelle because it is operated by hand.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
As opposed to a clockwork, where you would wind it up and that would be the mode of power. I've never seen this particular one.

GUEST:
Really.

APPRAISER:
They made a wide variety. Toys like this were made in Germany in the early 20th century, around 1900, 1905, although similar toys were made into the '20s and '30s. But this is absolutely from that earlier period of 1900, 1905.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
The heads are papier-mâché. But they also had wood components and cast metal components. Sometimes, they have a bisque head, like a doll head. Those tend to be a little more valuable than the composition. But these are really very nice and how we can date it as being one of the earlier ones is the detail on the paint. It's very finely detailed. What's remarkable about this is, well, the condition. You obviously minded your parents, who told you not to play with it too roughly.

GUEST:
Definitely.

APPRAISER:
Because the condition is extraordinary. It's all original clothing. There's one little bit of damage here.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
This is something that could be easily repaired and would not be a deleterious repair to the value.

GUEST:
I see.

APPRAISER:
A very simple job. The other thing that's extraordinary about this is the level of action.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Uh, oftentimes, these have very simple action-- a little girl will twirl around. But these are really fully animated. Generally speaking, a manivelle like this, in a retail marketplace, would be in the $1,500-$1,600 range, maybe a little bit more. At auction, sometimes, these things do a lot better.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
I think at auction this could easily bring in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.

GUEST:
Oh, really... really, yeah? And for insurance?

APPRAISER:
Certainly I would say in the $3,000 range.

GUEST:
I see, okay.

APPRAISER:
Be very tough to replace it.

GUEST:
Sure, sure. (light melody playing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Noel Barrett Antiques & Auctions Ltd.
Carversville, Pennsylvania
Appraised value (2006)
$1,500 Retail$3,000 Retail
Event
Tucson, AZ (June 17, 2006)
Period
20th Century
Form
Music box
Material
Wood

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