Carl Worner Folk Art Bottle, ca. 1910

Value (2010) | $3,000 Retail$4,000 Retail
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GUEST:
This belonged to my late father-in-law. I think he won it at a card game in a saloon in Chicago in probably the 1930s.

APPRAISER:
Well, we actually recognize the artist who made the bottle. And he was an itinerant artist that traveled around the Midwest, and the fact that your father was in Chicago in 1930 makes a lot of sense.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And the maker of the bottle is a gentleman by the name of Carl Worner. And he actually has a fairly extensive body of work.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
There are Worner bottles that we know of in Chicago, St. Louis, Buffalo.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
He traveled down into Pennsylvania. We know bottles from New Jersey. So he really traveled around and covered quite a bit of distance making these bottles. Now, what we have is just carved and painted woods, and the condition of this one is extraordinary. In part, the paint is so bright and cheery because the bottle is sealed. On top of the marquee we can see "W. Hunt." That was assuredly the name of the saloon owner that Worner made this bottle for. That helps us date it.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It also helps date and track Worner's travels. We're fairly sure he was born in Germany. Some of his early bottles were dating to about the 1890s. This bottle we're suspecting is probably about 1910. He also did shoe shops, he did restaurants. Bars were the most prolific, because there was a bar on every corner.

GUEST:
Oh, sure.

APPRAISER:
And those were the guys that he could walk in and get a drink and a meal from, and maybe clean up or sleep there and make a bottle. Now, we have a painted scene down there. And what is that about?

GUEST:
Well, I don't know for sure, but it reminds me of some German woodcarvings that I've seen of something I think is called "Die Freisch¸tz," or "Der Freisch¸tz."

APPRAISER:
So it's calling back to his German roots.

GUEST:
That's right.

APPRAISER:
And that's what folk artists do. Now, you speak German and you can identify what this is saying on here.

GUEST:
It says "One of the Seven Schwaben." I believe that refers to people from Swabia.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
In Germany. So we have here six people. Well, down here it says, "Where is the seventh one?"

APPRAISER:
And that's what we're going to find out. And this is Worner's signature. That's why we know this is a bottle by Worner, because he always hid the seventh guy.

GUEST:
(chuckling)

APPRAISER:
This is a very, very beautiful one. It's very large. That has a lot to do with its value, and it's amongst a group of bottles that people really seek out and collect. In today's market, the retail value is $3,000 to $4,000.

GUEST:
Wow. (chuckling) That's pretty astonishing.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Allan Katz Americana
Woodbridge, CT
Appraised value (2010)
$3,000 Retail$4,000 Retail
Event
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Glass, Wood
October 28, 2013: After this segment aired, a viewer wrote in to tell us more about the painted scene at the bottom of the bottle. The viewer explained that "Die Sieben Schwaben" is a German fairy tale by the Brueder Grimm. She went on: "In the story, seven men from 'Schwaben' encounter several 'adventures.' They are simpletons and are acting ridiculous, at one point fighting a 'monster' that turns out to be a rabbit."

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