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A $20,000 Folk Art Horse?

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Wooden Carvings by Peter Brubaker Bring Big Bucks at Auction
Folk Art Horses by Peter Brubaker

Folk Art Horses by Peter Brubaker

- Photo Courtesy of Morphy Auctions
At first glance, especially to the untrained eye, these wooden horses may seem like nothing more than an antique home craft project. And when you really think about it, that’s what “folk art” encompasses. It wasn’t meant to be high art when it was created in the 1800s. Even so, a number of folk artists are widely recognized in the art and antiques world today, and their works bring high prices at auction.

About the Example Shown Here

These horses are a prime example of very valuable folk art. They were crafted by Peter Brubaker (1816-1898), an inadvertent artist widely acclaimed for his hand crafted and painted horses. He was born and raised in Clay Township, northwest of Ephrata, in Lancaster County, Penn. where this piece was created. Even though it has some minor age chips and cracks, it is still considered to be an excellent example of Brubaker’s work measuring 10-inches tall. Also adding to the sale value of this item was a letter providing provenance that it had been handed down through descendents of the Ebling family for five generations.

The pre-auction estimate for this piece was $10,000-15,000. However, it far exceeded expectations selling for $21,600 (not including buyer’s premium) at Morphy Auctions in February of 2012.

More Brubaker Horses Sold at Auction

Other single horses attributed to Brubaker, which were crafted in his signature style with stippled painting, applied ears and horse hair tails, brought formidable sums in 2010 at a Pook & Pook Inc. auction far exceeding their pre-auction estimates. Those two examples, in even better condition than the one shown here, sold for $20,145 and $26,070.

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