Folk Art Spool Table, ca. 1900

Value (2013) | $1,000$1,500
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GUEST:
Well, I bought it in an antique mall on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago in 1990. The dealer told me that he'd purchased it in a barn in southern Wisconsin, and I believed him because I literally picked pieces of hay off of it after I purchased it.

APPRAISER:
I was immediately drawn to this and after thinking about it, a lot of people consider tramp art and things like this the ugly ducklings of folk art. It's easy to love something that's very refined and finely made, but there's also a group of us out there that love things with personality and funk. This is funky.

GUEST:
Yeah, this has personality, it's true. I like things like this, and this is a really elaborate one.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, I mean, the first thing I thought about, too, was, if the guy that made this was around, the first question I would ask him is, "Did you count up all the spools and know exactly how many you were going to need to do it the same on all four sides?" And when they made it, they did these nice little rosettes right there in the center of the first skirt, or the first drop. And then down at the bottom, they did those tapered spools to give that a "V" effect. And I love the way they did these... I don't know what you would call them on the corners. I guess you'd call them turrets. (laughing)

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And this is a perfect example of what somebody does with their imagination. It's made out of found objects.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it's whatever the man or woman that made this came up with. The other thing that struck me was that this has what I would call a ragged patina from putting it in the barn. That's what happens. Think about this. When this was made new, it had this bright gold paint and these cloth panels were very bright. So I'll bet you the first time it went in somebody's house, it would be like, "Whoa!" You'd walk by it and it would just bowl you over. And now it does the same thing, I think, with the subtleties. We could wax poetic and get all intellectual about the shadows and the negative space and all that kind of stuff, but it goes back to a very simple thing. It's something that he saw in his head, he or she, and it's just something that was executed really well that gives us sort of a visual delight. So, you bought it in when?

GUEST:
1990.

APPRAISER:
Okay, what did you pay for it then?

GUEST:
$175.

APPRAISER:
That was a pretty good investment.

GUEST:
I hope so.

APPRAISER:
Well, I talked to my colleagues over at the folk art table and the furniture table, and we were thinking for an insurance value in today's market, we would do somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500.

GUEST:
Well, that's great news.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Ken Farmer LLC
Charlottesville, VA
Appraised value (2013)
$1,000$1,500
Event
Kansas City, MO (August 10, 2013)
Category
Furniture
Form
Table
Material
Wood

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