I was hoping you could tell me something about this figure.
It’s a winged Mercury, 82 inches tall, heavy wood, and an ad for FTD before the telephone.
— J.A., Tucumcari, N.M.
James Anderson sent a partial image of an advertising winged Mercury, 82 inches tall, heavy wood and an ad for FTD. Florist Telegraph Delivery was founded in 1910 and began using the winged Mercury image in 1914. Your item appears to be from this early period.
Assuming there are no major problems with the item, such as missing pieces, it should be worth $1,000-$1,200 on the open market.
Florists, those wanting an item for their gazebo, or those who collect advertising items would be interested in it. Because several categories of collectors would seek it, this is called a “cross over” piece. It is possible the company would want it, in which case it would bring more money. FTD is still in business, and recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary.
Around 1943, when traveling through New Mexico or Arizona, my uncle purchased this blanket from Indians along the roadside.
Over the years, it acquired some worn spots, note one spot under the chin of the image on the blanket. I had the blanket restored, cleaned and mothproofed. The lady who restored it was not familiar with the design. I have tried to find out who may have woven it, and what the design represents, and feel it may be from Mexico.
I would appreciate any information I can learn about this item.
— D.J., San Louis Obispo, Calif.
The blanket is Navajo. This evaluation is based on the colors and the patterns, which together make a strong statement along the lines of the “eye dazzler” from an earlier period. It certainly is an unusual item. During the rug period, 1895-1940, many designs were influenced by Oriental rug designs and new inventions, with an eye toward marketing. The older “eye dazzler” designs were modified or replaced. Beginning with the Recent Period, 1940-present, many rugs were made for wall display and this applies here. It certainly is a visual feast. The dyes are commercial, not natural; they are too bright. The overall design is not traditional. Also, the face is not a Hopi Katchina, so it was probably woven by someone experimenting and selling to the public.
You did not indicate if the fiber is wool. Nor do we know from the photo if it is hand-woven, although it appears to be. The size is not known either. Having said this, Navajo and other people wove blankets which were used as bedding, saddle blankets, wraps and lighter clothing. This piece appears to be for the purpose of hanging as a wall decoration. Some were used in ceremonies. In summary, it is an innovative rug probably woven to be used a wall hanging. The year it was purchased, 1943, points toward the Oriental influence and marketing aspects. The worn spots, even repaired, affect the value. But this rug, as is, if hand woven and wool, should command $1,200-$1,500.
A caveat, however, is necessary. Being a Native American piece, there are probably restrictions on the selling of the blanket.
|About our A.I.A. appraiser: Dr. G. Marchelos is an honors graduate and certified appraiser of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. Additionally, Dr. Marchelos has a PhD in history, is a professor of antiquities at the University of Alabama, and is a nationally recognized appraiser working for both private and public institutions across North America. Dr. Marchelos is also a well established antiques dealer, operating both in the U.S. and Europe.|