Hupa Baskets, ca. 1900
These came to me from my mother, who got them when her mother died, and her mother had gotten them from her mother, probably when she died. My mother didn't wait until she died. She gave them to me early. And, um, my great-grandmother lived in Falk in California.
It's near Eureka.
Well, they are from that area. They're Hupa, H-U-P-A, and they're twined baskets. It's almost a braiding process. Indian people lived in those little valleys, they were subsistence cultures, but it was a place where there was a lot to eat and it was easy to live. And they made a lot of baskets for work and for use for cooking and storage and carrying things. When these baskets were new, they were pretty sturdy. They're pliable, they lasted a long time. They generally weren't quite this decorated way back 150 years ago or so. This twining, the little stitches are so fine. We see a lot of Hupa baskets, but not this quality. This is a European-style form that's not particularly traditional to the Hupa, but it was made to sell. This one, same thing. Copy of a handled vase. Not something that's your traditional form. It was strictly made to sell, and the bowl on your side is a much more traditional style basket that you would have seen early on. These probably date to between the late 1890s and the 1920s. It's hard to say. These baskets are now fragile. They've dried out and they're easy to break. You don't want to pick them up like this. You can break the rim. The rim breaks, it affects the value dramatically. They also break horizontally through here, so if they're crushed, they tend to break horizontally. Don't want that to happen. One of these is cracked. There's a crack that goes all the way along here. And when I say be careful, pick them up like this, instead of like this. Now, because of that crack, in a retail situation, that basket's worth maybe $75 or $100. This would be worth $800 to $1,000 if it didn't have that crack. This one is probably the next in value. No cracks, good condition. This one, probably $1,600 to $1,800. So, huge difference. This one, because it's got a lid, the quality of the weave, just the beauty of the basket overall, $1,600 to $1,800. This one is the king. It's one of the best baskets like that any of us have ever seen. And I think that basket's worth $3,600 to $4,000.
Glad you came by.
Me too. I wasn't expecting anything like that.
I just thought, "Oh, these are cool. They were my great-grandmother's."
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Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
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