Carved Noah's Ark, ca. 1850

Value (2016) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

My late husband gave it to me as a Christmas gift in 1996.

Where did he find it, do you know?

I believe he bought it in Connecticut.

Are you an animal lover?

I do love animals, yes. APPAISER: I'd be thrilled if somebody loved me to such an extent that they gave me a Noah's Ark full of animals.

No, no, it was a wonderful gift.

Do you have any idea at all at the time what he paid for it?

He did not share that with me. I've always wondered.

This is just a sampling of what's inside. Most of these were made in Germany, and I think they achieved their sort of maximum popularity in the mid-19th century. It is said that because it's... the story's a Biblical tale, that many children were allowed to play with these only on Sunday, if you can imagine, and that may be one of the reasons why oftentimes the animals are in pretty fine condition. I suspect that in a household this was a very treasured toy because these are relatively fragile. Looking at the color of this infinite variety of animals and the condition, one can only surmise that they spent most of their time in the ark. And we have, if I can very carefully open this up, you can see that we have as many inside the ark as we have outside. This is only an hour show, so we were limited as to how many we could put out. These were exported to America in great numbers, so they're not rare, but arks that have managed to survive with the original painted surface and with so many animals in superb shape, as compared to a lot of them, this is a great set. These arks were produced... a cottage industry, if you will. So they were produced in some numbers, but probably by quite a large number of people. And as I understand it, there were people who simply carved one species. And the person who carved the animal then might pass it over to somebody else to have it painted, so we're looking at a real collaborative effort here. Ultimately, very successful. Now, when you get home, are you going to set the animals up once again?

I am-- they were in a corner cupboard, and I'm sure it's probably going to take me several hours to put them back in pairs.

So we did a little quiz amongst our people at the folk art table, and in an auction situation, the Noah's Ark would be estimated in the $4,000 to $6,000 range.

Oh, my. It's very special. Wow, well, I always felt it was a very special gift from him, and it's something my family will always cherish.

Appraisal Details

Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2016)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Virginia Beach, VA (June 25, 2016)
Folk Art

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