On the Web: Weathervanes and lightning rods

The arrival of spring usually means wicked, unpredictable weather, so this week we’re going to look at recent online auction results of weathervanes and lightning rods. I didn’t expect to find much when I did the initial search, but was pleasantly surprised with the range of items and prices realized. These items have always been popular at all the traditional auctions that I’ve attended, the same seems to be true of online auctions as well. (Prices realized do not include shipping, insurance or buyer’s premiums, if applicable.)

First up for discussion is a vintage “brass eagle weathervane” with a stand (eBay item 360044787883) that sold April 27, 2008. The bidding was started at just $9.99, and seven bidders pushed the final sale price to $416. On a 12-inch diameter base, this piece’s height is adjustable, from 49.5 to 64 inches, and the eagle’s wing span is 21 inches. Although the seller is of the opinion that it “just needs a good cleaning,” I would leave it as it is; judging by the pictures, it looks as though it has a nice patina.

A traditional symbol that appears often on weathervanes is the rooster. EBay item 180235514858 is a large copper rooster weathervane that, according to the seller, came off a barn in Loudon County, Tenn., several years ago. The bidding started at $245, and two bidders battled it out to a final price of $358.59 when the auction closed on April 26, 2008. With the pole, the piece measures 52 inches tall; the rooster alone measures 19 inches tall by 16 inches wide, and it comes complete with “evidence of its former feathered friends,” as the sellers did not want to tamper with the patina, which, in my opinion, was a good choice.

The Slotin Spring Folk Art Masterpiece Sale was held April 26, 2008, in Gainesville, Ga., utilizing eBay Live Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.com. There were 880 items in the catalog. Item number 250 in the Slotin catalog was this turn-of-the-century snake weathervane made of painted, hand-forged metal, measuring 32.5 inches long by 11 inches high. The pre-sale estimate was $2,000 to $3,000, and bidding started at $500. Four bidders bid fast and furious on this item, as it garnered 103 bids before reaching a surprising final sale price of $10,400, not including the 20% buyer’s premium.

Next up, we have an antique starburst brass lightning rod topper, believed by the seller to date from the 1800s (eBay item 310042991403). This lightning rod topper has a nice form, and is in “as-found condition with the brass tarnished black and the topper been painted with aluminum paint,” the piece measures 8.5 inches long. Six bidders participated in this auction, pushing the price up from the original $9.99 starting price, to settle at $72.01 on April 26, 2008.

Even though a lightning rod ball is strictly ornamental, it seems no lightning rod assembly is complete without one. They sell for a few dollars, up to several hundred dollars, depending upon the maker, condition, vintage, color, and so on. Here we have eBay item 300217690115, a beautiful “vintage cobalt blue flat quilt lightning rod ball.” This relatively small glass ball created quite a bit of interest, as seven bidders participated in the auction, pushing the final price to $204.49. The seller described the piece as “made by the George E Thompson Lightning Rod Co. which began business in 1910. This large ball measures 5 5/8H X 5in W and has large collars which will fit a standard or twist rod. In perfect condition the caps are not original.”

Spring means unpredictable weather, but it also means you will have your pick of auctions to attend! Sometimes that can be a tough decision, but what a wonderful decision to have to make.

Until next time, “happy hunting”!