Carved Wooden American Eagle, ca. 1850

Value (2011) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction

Right now he's a little older than me. It's probably close to 100 years old, or maybe even a little more. It's been in my mother's family since I was about seven years old. And I don't really know too much about it, because when you live in a house with something, you don't pay attention to it. But then as I got old and started to mow lawns and things like that, my mother got into the lawn decorating business. She thought she was an artist. So she used to put it on her front lawn, and her most important instruction is, "Don't run over the bird." (laughs) And then after she passed on, I took it.

I think that in all likelihood, it may have stood atop a flagpole, or possibly could have been mounted on a building, like a public building, a courthouse, above a doorway. The thing that I think we should call attention to is the overall quality of the carving And certainly it's, I would think, 100, 150 years old. This is carved out of a soft wood, and I think the origin of the bird is most definitely American. I would attribute it to a carver probably perhaps somewhere in the Northeast. Certainly the person who carved it was talented. They spared no time and expertise in carving every detail of the bird. The unusual thing about it is that when this is up high, you wouldn't see the top of the wings. Didn't stop the carver from carving them as well. It's beautifully detailed, beautifully proportioned, and the thing that we like about it is that in spite of its damage here and there, that is evidence of it being in the weather for many, many decades. I think at some point they've repainted it with probably gold radiator paint or something.


But if you look carefully, you can see vestiges of the original gilding and gesso. So it's all there. I think as the market continues, interest in Americana, interest in the American eagle, the icon, you know, the symbol of our country remains very, very strong. So eagles are hot, there's no doubt about it. I think for auction purposes, I would estimate its value certainly between $6,000 and $8,000.

It's a splendid bird. To me, it's worth $100,000, really.

That's right. Well, you know, there's no price for sentiment.

It's not going anyplace now.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2011)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Atlanta, GA (August 06, 2011)
Folk Art

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