Antique Weathervanes are ornamental pieces of folk art which display wind direction.
Brief history and description
A weathervane is a device used for indicating wind direction, and typically features a unique ornament at the top of the device, as well as a small or large globe attached to a long rod, and a “North” and “South” directional guide.
The origins of the weathervane could date back to as far back as 48 BC. They were first commonly used during the 9th century on Viking ships and Scandinavian churches as well.
Weathervanes first became mass-produced during the 19th century, and some of the many famous weathervane manufacturers during the 19th century included L. W. Cushing, J. W. Fiske, Harris & Co., A. L. Jewell & Co. and E. G. Washburne & Co.
Many weathervanes from this time period depict animals such as roosters, horses, birds, grasshoppers, dragons or deer, (to name a few), and are typically made out of copper or bronze.
Some antique weathervanes may include a “Stanford arrow” (also known as a “church scroll,” which was popular during the 19th century), a banner, or a swell or full-bodied sillhoutte.
Guide for collectors
Copper weathervanes are considered to be the most valuable, but not necessarily the most rare. Weathervanes that were built during the 17th century (or earlier) are considered to be the most rare, as well as weathervanes that were designed by famous manufacturers like Cushing, Fiske or Washburne & Co.
Restoration of an antique weathervane is recommended, but only if there is noticeable damage. However, restoring an antique weathervane may decrease its value.
For more information regarding antique weathervanes, visit The Weather Vane News.
Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio sold:
- A molded copper leaping stag weathervane (circa 1880) for $26,000 in October of 2006.
- A copper hollow-bodied grasshopper weathervane (circa late 19th century) for $37,500 in May of 2005.
Sotheby’s in New York sold a fine gilded copper rooster weathervane by J.W. Fiske (circa 1885) for $20,400 in January of 2005.
Kamelot Auctions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania sold a Wilhelm Hunt Diederich sheet iron weathervane featuring polo players for $32,000 in February of 2009.
Wooden Nickel Antiques in Cincinnati, Ohio sold an Equestrian weathervane featuring a racing horse and carriage for $14,500 in July of 2007.