Swordfish Swords & Plaque

Value (2015) | $5,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
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GUEST:
These are swords from, originally, Gloucester, Massachusetts. They were made there by my grandfather. He was a fisherman out of the port of Gloucester after immigrating to this country from Sweden. Grandfather would catch the swordfish when they would be out doing their regular fishing routes. And then he had a little pen knife about this big that he carried with him always. And when he was not busy with the fishing, he would take the swords and scrape them down until he got down to the pure bone.

APPRAISER:
And this theme...

GUEST:
Grandfather carried a theme with it. That's typical of the centerpiece that he made, and this is carved from one single piece of wood.

APPRAISER:
And the theme being?

GUEST:
The theme being faith, hope, and love. And it's carved in every oneof the swords. And he also puts a swordfish himself on every one of his swords. Out of respect.

APPRAISER:
Out of respect for the fish that this bone comes from.

GUEST:
In 1908, shortly after my father was born, he was lost at sea, and he was missing for three months. And they found out later that his dory got lost in the storm from the mother ship, and he floated for three weeks on the open sea, and the dory floated up to Newfoundland, and a colony of people there found him. They only spoke French, and he only knew Swedish and a little bit of English. They found him with his hands frozen to the oars, and they had to cut off the oars here in order to release him from the dory. They literally had to thaw him out. They did such a good job of taking care of his frostbite that he only lost one thumb up to this knuckle, and then came back and later carved these swords.

APPRAISER:
So he showed up at his wife's doorstep presumably after she thought he had died?

GUEST:
Right, and after the memorial service had been held.

APPRAISER:
Incredible.

GUEST:
And then she opened the door one day and there he stood.

APPRAISER:
Well, he was a gifted artist, and these folk art pieces are extraordinary in their quality, their design and color. This is by far the best one of its type that I've ever seen. As far as value is concerned, it's a little tough to come up with a value on these pieces, but this particular piece I would think would be worth, easily, let's say $2,500. This one being slightly less ambitious but none-the-less beautiful, and not quite as early, a bit less. And this, again, coming up with dollar prices on these things is a little tough, but let's say for the sake of discussion, perhaps $1,500, $2,000. These are such beautiful objects, but more importantly, the story is just superb.

GUEST:
He was a wonderful man. Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Update (2015)
$5,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Appraised value (2000)
$5,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Event
Sacramento, CA (July 15, 2000)
Category
Folk Art
Form
Sword

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