Ask the Experts: Playful folk art pig may bring home $800

LET-Q As a subscriber of Antique Trader, I was reading the article on collectibles, and I have an item I’m trying to identify as to what it was used for, how old it may be and possibly the value.

It is a pig made of either resin or some type of fibre casting, it’s hollow and is 13 1/2 inches long by 7 1/2 inches tall by 3 1/2 inches wide. It has a hook on top. It is made in a two-piece mold, the tail section is hinged and it has some of the original white paint left.

Pig 2I was told this was used in an old cafe or restaurant on a carousel for food orders that were sent to the cooks in the kitchen. I have no idea what it was used for or how old it is. Any information you can furnish would be most appreciated. This will go into my pig collection. Thanks, and keep up the good work on the paper.

— V.K.


Ask the Experts letter "A" Your pig is wonderful. What a super piece of folk art. Of course, I would really like to be able to hold this and examine it in person to get an impression of its age, weight and general characteristics. There is a sense about antiques that can only be satisfied by touch; something just short of a psychic connection. The story of its use on a restaurant carousel to transport orders to the kitchen is fascinating and sounds completely credible Pig 3(although it would be an entirely plausible candle box).

Folk art has always been popular due to its charm and strong appeal to a broad audience. This pig has everything: the big floppy ears, the cute face, the easily transportable size and a nicely seasoned patina. It is quite difficult to determine the composition of this piece with the photographs provided, but the superstructure appears to be wood.

One of the difficulties associated with folk art is that the origin is typically untraceable. Pieces are usually one-of-a-kind and valuation of a piece like this can be challenging in terms of comparisons. The venue and type of sale will also affect the value. The hammer price at a well-attended folk art auction would be higher than at a general sale. It would not be unrealistic to expect this piece to sell in the range of $600 to $800.

Thanks for sharing this.

About our A.I.A. appraiser: Anthony J. Cavo is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute Of Antiques and a graduate of Reisch College of Auctioneering. He has extensive experience in the field of buying and selling antiques and collectibles; at age 18, he became one of the youngest purchasers and consigners of antiques and art for a New York auction house. Mr. Cavo is an active dealer in the antiques and collectibles marketplace in the U.S. and abroad.


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