Fake Powder Horn

Value (2011) | $1,200 Retail$1,500 Retail
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GUEST:
Well, I have a powder horn here. I don't know much about it. I'm a trader, I just ended up with it.

APPRAISER:
What do you mean, you're a trader?

GUEST:
Oh, I trade jewelry, horses, all kinds of stuff. I've been doing this since about the '60s. My family were all horse traders.

APPRAISER:
No kidding.

GUEST:
I just inherited it, I guess.

APPRAISER:
Okay, and when did you trade for this?

GUEST:
Oh, back in the '70s sometime.

APPRAISER:
And what did you trade for it?

GUEST:
I believe it was Indian jewelry, or maybe some turquoise.

APPRAISER:
So, what do you think you have into it in terms of trade?

GUEST:
I believe right at the time it was around $1,200 or $1,300.

APPRAISER:
Well, you brought it over to the folk art table today and it's hard not to say, "Wow!"

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
This is quite a powder horn. And I'm not going to string you out on this. I'm going to tell you right off the bat that I think this is a marvel, but I think it's a modern marvel. I don't think it is a period piece from the late 18th century.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
The first thing you see here is this top part has quite a bit of age to it. It has this wonderful old leather strap, and immediately, your brain digests that as being very old.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But upon close examination, you can see where this top part has been carved down to fit inside the horn part. So it's actually a marriage of two horns, not one contiguous horn, and darkened right around the edge to cover up the fact that it is two pieces.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
So, right away, that's a dramatic warning.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
We then look at the bottom, and we see the holder. It's really almost like a drawer pull.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It's not what should be on here. The carving and the engraving, I don't think I could pay someone to do it now.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
It's really beautifully done, and it's real, it's not printed on or anything, it is engraved.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And clearly it's not 1761, as the date might indicate. It's pulled from a bunch of different sources. So you have a map of Upstate New York, you have this wonderful European kind of sea creature, and it was probably taken out of a compilation of books and images that this person saw. So, let's talk in terms of value. You say you have about $1,200 into it.

GUEST:
Somewhere around there.

APPRAISER:
A few years ago, had this been totally correct, a retail price would be around $50,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Today, the market is weak on such items, and today we would value it at around $15,000 had it been a period horn.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
As a copy, as a very, very good copy, I'm going to say, for a retail price, it's worth what you paid for it.

GUEST:
(laughs)

APPRAISER:
It still has this wonderful imagery and this wonderful sense of art content that you would say, "It's probably worth $1,200 to $1,500 in today's marketplace," to a collector who would say, "Wow, this is a beautiful, beautiful copy."

GUEST:
Well, you never know what you're going to end up with. I just bought it 'cause I liked the way it looked.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Allan Katz Americana
Woodbridge, CT
Appraised value (2011)
$1,200 Retail$1,500 Retail
Event
El Paso, TX (June 18, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Material
Horn

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