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Antique Carousel Horse

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    Posted 3 years ago

    (45 items)

    This is obviously a very old antique carved jumper, at least in the style of a carousel horse. It is about 4 feet long and 3 feet high and about 80 or so pounds in weight. All of the trim around the saddle and bridle area are done with copper, either 3/4" or 1-1/4 inches in width and fastened with distinct four sided nails or large round headed ones which you can see in the photos. Each leg and the head are attached separately with a copper strip as well which is very slightly counter sunk into the wood which would make it barely visible when painted. The reins are made of heavy copper chain in a figure 8 chain link and the decorative attachements to the bridle are also made of copper in a flower shape. The hole goes completely through the body, and the body is one solid piece of wood including the tail. The pole hole is not "drilled", it is chiselled. It is very sadly mounted at the moment on a pole that was once a table base. I plan to do a proper mounting on it. I wish I could get more history, but all I know is that it was purchased around the year 2000 from an antique dealer in Toronto who really wasn't knowledgeable about this type of piece. Any experts out there that might be able to give some insight would be appreciated!

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    1. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
      When you stand in front of the horse and look at him, is his head looking straight forward or is his head cantered slightly to appear he is looking to his right?
    2. CanCollect CanCollect, 3 years ago
      fhrjr2, I know where you're going with this question. The head appears straight on, not cantered to the right. I've also read on "expert" sites that it's more the norm than not, especially in large size horses, but not necessarily a definitive tool to judge all carousel horses by. There is also no bottom plate under the belly, but it's a bit damaged underneath as someone welded a section of pipe onto an old table base and used it as a mount for the horse which gauged away any chance of looking for sign of a mounting plate/bracket.
    3. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      I noticed the copper has not developed the usual patina you see with age. Do you think the copper strips and chain are original to the rest of the horse?
    4. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
      CanCollect with all due respect I doubt I am going in the direction you assumed. Looking at the pictures it appears the off side is equally decorated for having been on a carousel. Where I was going is this being a show model sample used by a sales person.

      Also I fully agree with Watchsearcher about the copper. Especially the chain, those sharp ends alone would cut a hand that gripped it. I seriously doubt anyone ever saw the chain used before this one. It looks like number 8 ground wire formed with a pair of pliers as opposed to being manufactured and finished.
    5. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 years ago
      My other thought about the chain was that it would be perfect for getting children’s little fingers I thought maybe it was added after the horse was not in use.
      And it looks like the surface of the copper is peeling in one of the photos, and painted over in places — lots of questions raised regarding the use of copper in the first place.
      Do you have any thoughts about it?
    6. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 3 years ago
      My thought is; anyone who would mount it on a table stand would certainly do anything, including adding the chain fashioned after swag lamp chain.
    7. CanCollect CanCollect, 3 years ago
      Good morning everyone. As always thank you for your valued comments! So about the chain and copper trimming. Unfortunately sometimes photos do not show the true colours. The copper trim is actually very dark, in fact I used a small bit of metal cleaner because I wasn't even sure what it was made of. The copper trim was painted over with gold paint and much of it is now missing. As for the chain, it is also very dark with a very slight hint that it could be made of copper, so I took a slightly abrasive nail file and lightly brushed a section of the chain and instantly saw the bright copper below the darkened patina. The chain is not sharp anywhere on the ends, and I agree that not the best choice to put a child on! However, I began my days in a wooden crib painted in lead paint if you know what I mean. The chain certainly could have been added later, although upon close inspection, it appears like it's been there for many many years. I also agree that it's quite unusual to see metal trim of any sort on either a carousel horse, or even a display horse. Perhaps it's simply a very old piece of folk art. I certainly wish I had the resources to test the age and composition of the paint, wood, and metals to get an approximate age. The body itself appears to show only the original one layer of paint with gesso beneath as the foundation, and the saddle appears to have at least two layers of paint as I see different browns on the saddle portion. I'm torn on whether or not I should restore it, or leave it as is....
    8. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 3 years ago
    9. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 3 years ago
      looks like a Mexican store display horse.. nothing anyone would let a child ride on and cut there hand on that brass.. but check with the folks I posted ..if they don't know .. no one will experts i n here
    10. Roycroftbooksfromme1, 3 years ago
    11. pickrknows pickrknows, 3 years ago
      I love it just the way it is, shows a nice history of being around the sun many times!
    12. Shelbydav Shelbydav, 2 years ago
      I have that same horse!!! My daughter just purchased him on eBay, advertised as a Spillman, which I am sure he is not. Photo on my account is of his head. Same stule, straight head, copper bridle with a brass rosette on top, copper rosette on bottom, heavily painted over, and the chain for reins. Unique from other carousel horses is that he has actual thin brass horse shoes nailed on and completely accurate genitals (mentioned only for purposes of identification). I've never seen one like this before. Has anyone gotten any additional information on this guy?
    13. CanCollect CanCollect, 2 years ago
      Shelbydav: Wow, that's amazing. You are a long way from me here in southern Ontario. I have no idea of the maker of this horse, and if you ever find out any information, please share. Meantime, enjoy!!
    14. Shelbydav Shelbydav, 2 years ago
      I was shocked when I saw the photograph of your guy. To find a near exact replica has me so excited and yet still bewildered over their origin. Clearly, there was a carver who did these two and possibly more. Mine looks in better condition. He has the brass attachment at the base of the mane that the pole goes through. There is very little wood deterioration. The main difference between yours and mine is that the tail on mine goes in the opposite direction (toward the outside of an American carousel horse). I'm still hopeful that the unique individual difference between ours and other carousel horses may lead to a more informed history. As best I can tell, they seem to be carved by a very early American folk carver who, for now, remains a mystery. I plan to have mine appraised by an auction house to see if they can give me any additional information. I'm happy to share what I find out. Nearly 2,600 miles - astonishing!
    15. CanCollect CanCollect, 2 years ago
      Shelbydav: I look forward to hearing anything you can discover. I've done exhausting internet searches and found nothing. I've contacted several carousel clubs and associations who are not very helpful, as these examples of course are not or were no "real" carousel horses from a ride. I have called mine "folk art" from the beginning, the carving is excellent and very detailed. I believe these are early examples of display horses as you mentioned that some artisan/wood carver created. Hopefully one day more information will come forward, but in the meanwhile, enjoy it!
    16. Pjmaddy05 Pjmaddy05, 2 months ago
      Hi I know this was a old post but did you ever find out any information on that horse? I inherited 3 of them just trying to get some information appraisal value etc.
      Thank you
    17. CanCollect CanCollect, 2 months ago
      Pjmaddy05 I did so much research it hurt my head! Bottom line, is that the market has dropped on these things. I ended up selling mine for next to nothing, so don't expect a good return. They are big, and take up space, limited market right now unless you have an extremely rare real carousel horse.

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