J.W. Fiske & Co. Aquarium, ca. 1890
A friend of mine got it from an older lady that he had done some work for and gave it to him down in the Lake of the Ozarks. And I kind of fell in love with it when I saw it, and it took me about a year and a half to talk him into selling it to me.
Well, what you have here is a really outstanding fish tank by J.W. Fiske of New York. They were an ironworks company and they're considered one of the most important companies in America for this kind of work. This is a really outstanding example of a fish tank. You have this elaborate design of the cranes on the base, and of course you have this bowl, which is all original. It's extraordinary to see. And then these really interesting little plant stands, where they would put potted plants on. And these would hold candles, and here you would have a little fountain that bubbled and aerated the water for the fish. This is a particularly harmonious combination, with the cranes and the fish tank. But it's very, very rare. You see the base from time to time, but with a garden urn on it. But to see a fish tank in this complete state is really wonderful. How much did you pay for it?
Well, I sell stone, so I traded him some rock. He's got a landscape business, and gave him $500 plus some rock. Added, about $1,000.
Well, you'll be happy to know that it's worth a bit more than that. Even in the condition that it's in-- you can see it's been painted over and it's cracking pretty badly, and plus, the paint hides quite a bit of the detail underneath, and if you take off the paint, you very well might find a signature on this. In this condition, I would estimate it to bring around $8,000 to $12,000 at an auction. But what I would suggest is, actually getting it professionally cleaned. Getting it professionally stripped, and, you know, if you spent about $1,000, it probably would be worth maybe $16,000, $17,000, or maybe even $18,000.
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