Treasure Hunt 23/11/09

Dear Donna,

I hope you can answer a question for me. I have a few wooden animals that appear to be hand-carved. This horse is my favorite.

How can you tell the age of it and who might have carved it? There is no name or date visible.

Thanks for your time, Donna.

Anna in Brookline

Dear Anna,

Hand-carved animals have been made for so many years. It is tough without markings to figure out the exact age and who made them.

In your photos you can see a natural age patina (this is a natural coloring that develops over time). You also can see crackling of the original varnish (finish).

What you’re looking for in each animal you have is detailed craftsmanship. Sometimes by looking at them all you can see they could all have been made by the same carver.

Your horse appears to be from around the early 1900s to 1940s. I would say the value is in the $75 range.

Horses are very collectible, even today!

Thanks for sharing, Anna, and I hope this helps.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo

Author: Donna Welch

Donna Welch has spent more than 30 years in the antiques and collectibles field, appraising and instructing, and recently closed the physical location of From Out Of The Woods Antique Center ( but is still doing some buying and selling. She is a member of The New Hampshire Antiques Dealer Association. If you have questions about an antique or collectible send a clear photo and information to Donna at, or call her at 391-6550 or 624-8668.

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