18th-Century American Walnut Cradle

Value (2009) | $800 Auction$1,200 Auction
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GUEST:
Well, it's my mom's baby cradle, but she said that she would give it to me when I grow up. We think it's dated back to the Revolutionary War in 1776.

APPRAISER:
1776?

GUEST:
And there's also a story about it, how my mom got it. When she was 15, she saw the cradle in the antique store and she really, really wanted it. And when she had enough babysitting money to get the cradle, when she went there it was gone.

APPRAISER:
Aw.

GUEST:
And then, after then she was so disappointed. Then that Christmas, when my mommy went downstairs, under the Christmas tree, she saw this baby cradle. And that's how she got it.

APPRAISER:
And there it was!

GUEST:
And here's a picture of me falling asleep in it.

APPRAISER:
And how old were you there?

GUEST:
About two weeks old. I slept in it for six weeks. And the reason why I stopped sleeping in it was because I learned how to move my arms. And every time I was asleep, I used to do this in the baby cradle and wham my arm on the thing that would make me wake up and cry and then they didn't really like that. So then I started sleeping in a crib.

APPRAISER:
Now, the bottom on this cradle is loose. There's a board here.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Why is that?

GUEST:
Because it was not safe for us to sleep in it. So, my granddad, he got a piece of wood and he put it...

APPRAISER:
Put it inside.

GUEST:
So it would be safe for me to sleep in it.

APPRAISER:
So those nails wouldn't be good, right? Obviously.

GUEST:
Yeah, yeah.

APPRAISER:
They might hurt a little bit. Well, you know, you are so smart and I'm so impressed. This is an 18th-century cradle. And it could have been made around the 1770s or '80s. It's made in America, probably made in Pennsylvania, because it has poplar bottoms, tulip poplar, and that's a Pennsylvania wood. All these curves and this little cutout we think make it probably Pennsylvania. And it's made of walnut. And cradles are really important in old times. For rocking babies obviously, and putting them to sleep.

GUEST:
Yeah, I rocked.

APPRAISER:
Sadly, we don't make cradles anymore like this. Basically, babies are now cradled like this. In mommy's arms. Like you're doing here with your baby.

GUEST:
Not exactly, I'm just holding her.

APPRAISER:
(laughs) Well, this is just a beautiful piece. I don't know if you know about the value of this, what it's worth.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
This being a 1780 cradle made in America, I would put an auction estimate on this piece of $800 to $1,200.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
But you know what? It's really priceless, because this is your family piece, your cradle, and you were rocked in this when you were a baby.

GUEST:
So we're not really going to do... like, sell it.

APPRAISER:
Exactly.

GUEST:
It would just be passed down the family and all.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2009)
$800 Auction$1,200 Auction
Event
Raleigh, NC (June 27, 2009)
Period
18th Century
Form
Cradle
Material
Walnut

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