Gilded Iron Weathervane, ca. 1825
My husband and I were out and about-- I'm thinking it was around 1980-- and we came across an estate auction in Saline, Michigan. We stopped, we saw this weathervane. I fell in love with it and I knew I just had to own it. I do believe we paid about $900, which was a lot back then. I've always assumed it was the Angel Gabriel, and I loved everything about it so we bought it.
We see lots of sheet-iron weathervanes. Most of them aren't for real. People have been making them, faking them for decades at this point. So when I saw this one, it took just a matter of a minute and I said, "This is the real deal." What makes it real? What tells you that? Well, this form is a little unusual. The fact that Gabriel blowing his horn, he's sort of rising. We've seen other examples of this where Gabriel is more horizontal, if you will. You might look at it and say there are certain aspects of it that are a little awkward. But the total effect, I think, is spellbinding. The edge of this weathervane is weathered rather nicely. I've noticed on some of the reproductions the edge is rather sharp and they tend to try to rust them up a lot. And I think old iron doesn't rust like new iron particularly, so the surface that we see is surprisingly free of rust in many areas. And there are vestiges of the gilding, and there's beautiful old patination. So we step back and look at this, and it's a silhouette that I think is entirely successful. It qualifies to me as really one of the really terrific Gabriel folk-art weathervanes that I think is, you know, made in the early 19th century by an individual craftsman. Do you have any idea of the origin of the weathervane?
The auctioneer said it came off of a church in New England.
It doesn't surprise me because we've seen similar weathervanes over the years and I'm a New Englander. There's been a few come along over the years that were, well, similar to this. So I think I'd go for that. Our consensus is that in an auction situation, we would estimate this at $15,000 to $25,000.
So it's terrific.
Thank you. Oh... (chuckles) I'm very happy to hear that. Thank you. I've always loved it. I look at it every day.
I would too. (chuckles)
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