Carved Wood Devil Figure, ca. 1925

Value (2011) | $4,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
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GUEST:
About 25 years ago, I went to a historical society sale, where people donated items to keep the historical society going. And I collected Halloween, and I walked in and he was sitting on the floor and I purchased him. He cost a whole ten dollars. I inquired about who made it, and I had a name, but I don't remember the name right now. But it was a local gentleman who worked in a factory, and supposedly it was like around 1920 or 1930.

APPRAISER:
This is the epitome of American folk art. I mean, this is what I love about this material. Here's a guy who was probably a millworker along the Monongahela River...

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Local guy. I think the date is correct for it, because we're sort of in the era of Prohibition and the big temperance movement. So, devils are out there, and they're warning you about the evils of drink. It's just one individual's kind of inspiration and humor and capability, and it's just got such personality. It's the beauty of American folk art. And this is an area that's really hot now. At auction, this piece could probably bring between $4,000 and $5,000.

GUEST:
Wow. Geez! Well, it sat on my front porch during Halloween for 25 years in October, for the whole month.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
And he had cornstalks around him and everything, and I think we're going to be bringing him in.

APPRAISER:
You've got to find another centerpiece.

GUEST (laughing): I know. Geez!

APPRAISER:
He's just...he's delicious.

GUEST:
He's quite a guy.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Sotheby's
New York, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$4,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Carving, Figure
Material
Paint, Wood

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