1826 Tennessee Hunting Horn

Value (2008) | $10,000 Insurance$11,000 Insurance

It has come down in my family and I know that it actually came into our home when I was about nine years old at the death of my grandmother. And so I'm sure it was part of her estate. And I was told not to play with it, which meant I went and played with it whenever I could and became fascinated by all of the carvings that are on it. And I know they're Masonic emblems on there; there's a name and a date carved on there. There are delightful pictures that are meant to, apparently, mimic Noah's Ark. And so I'm fascinated because this looks like a man's life.

We know who made it because he says so. Very clearly here it says "R.H. Hurst's horn, cemented with love." Then it says 1826 here. That's very early as decorative arts in the state go. Now, if I turn it up here so that we can look under here, we're just filled with Masonic symbols. The arch, Hiram-- an important figure in Masonry-- the arch again in there. And on another side, even farther around, even more Masonic symbols. So he was clearly a Mason, probably a member of an early lodge. We have Biblical symbols in Noah's Ark. We rotate it round a little more, a ship, animals. And then what I really love, when we get round to this side, is we have a verse. And I think you can tell me a little about the verse.

And I know that that is from a verse in the Bible. It says, "And the darkness comprehended it not."

And it says, of course, also, "Victory and freedom." Tennessee was literally frontier territory, and they were not just worried about fighting Indians at that time; there was always a threat the British were going to come back, and certainly Tennessee, with their experience in the War of 1812, victory and freedom has real meaning in that context. But what's fascinating to me, and what's really important as an object, is we have this date, we have all this family history that ties it to Tennessee. If it were a powder horn, this would be capped and this would have a plug space. And it would have some sort of tie so that you could plug it off. Otherwise, obviously, the powder would pour out. So if it wasn't a powder horn, what was it? Well, I think it was a hunting horn. But what I find just amazing is that we have an enormous amount of high-quality decoration and engraving. All this is carved in here, too. We have the pewter mount. I've consulted with a number of colleagues; no one has seen one this elaborate with the mounting. Now, I know you really want to keep this in the family. It's been in the family as long as you know. So, for insurance purposes, I would insure this, without hesitation, for $10,000, $11,000.

Oh, dear. Back in the lock box. (laughs) Thank you very much.

My pleasure.

Appraisal Details

J. M. Flanigan American Antiques
Baltimore, MD
Appraised value (2008)
$10,000 Insurance$11,000 Insurance
Chattanooga, TN (July 19, 2008)
Folk Art
Horn , Pewter

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