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Native American-form bookends valued at $1,200

Dr. Anthony Cavo evaluates a pair of Pompeiian Bronze Co. bookends in the form of a kneeling Native American man for his Ask the Experts column in Antique Trader magazine.

While on a recent appraisal in a home occupied by the same family for about 80 years I entered a small dimly-lit bedroom that had been used as a storage room for almost as long as the family had been in residence. Tucked away amid a pile of 78rpm records, clothing, bayonets, and broken Japanese swords was a pair of bookends. In the form of a kneeling Native American man, they appeared to be bronze.

Pompeian Bronze Company mark

Pompeian Bronze Company mark

The room was lit with only sunlight from a small window but close examination revealed them to be bronze-clad. The foundry mark revealed they were made by the Pompeian Bronze Company in New York. The Pompeian Bronze Company began at the turn-of-the-century (19th to 20th) after the Galvano Bronze Company was purchased by Galvano employees and continued production into the 1920s.

The base metal of these bookends, designed by Paul Herzel, is white metal, which is plated in bronze. Unlike most bookends, each half of the pair is not identical to the other; the men assume different poses.

They are about 8 inches tall, retain some of the original paint and are in very good condition.

Native American bronze clad bookends.

Native American bronze clad bookends.

I would value the pair in the $800 to $1,200 range depending on the venue. A eight-inch pair recently sold online for $202. Yet a single one (only one-half of the pair) sold on the same site five days earlier for $695. The disparity in these prices only displays that results from online auctions are dependent on who is looking at what and when. When using online resources for pricing, it is wise to have at least three to four results for the same item in the same price range before you establish an actual value for that item.

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