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"Antique" equipment/tools going for big bucks... because...?


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The thing that I don't get is how Antique equipment, especially via an antique mall/dealer type of situation, has gone up so much in price. Especially Anvils.  We see this mentioned often here on this site.

Do regular, non -blacksmithing people buy this stuff? Who on the green earth buys a 400lb anvil as home decoration? I just don't get it.

Any thoughts?

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Mr. Aaamax,

Has asked,

"Who on the green earth buys a 400lb anvil as home decoration? I just don't get it"

The SLAG  l.l.c. has a guess,

Idiots  or  succers?

Just a guess.

SLAG.

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There seems to be widely varying tastes in yard decorations.  One thing that is fairly common in this part of the world is old farm equipment and wagons.  I have also seen ore cars and mining equipment and "art" which is either attractive or hideous depending on the property owner and the viewer.  There are also the cutesy ornaments such as flamingos, gnomes, jockeys, religious shrines, etc..   Not to mention people who fill their property/lawn with old cars, pallets, scrap wood, tires, and "projects" with little concern to how the property may look to neighbors or passers by. I've had plenty of experience with "That's not junk!  That's my stuff.  I moved here so that I could have my stuff."

"Different strokes for different folks."

"You might be a red neck if you mow your lawn and find a car you had forgotten about."

An anvil doesn't seem like that odd of a lawn decoration to me.  If I had a large ASO that I wasn't planning on using I could see using it decoratively, possibly mounted on a boulder with a sword sticking out of it.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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Well, not saying it couldn't or wouldn't, but a 400lb anvil is much less likely to "walk away" than a 150lb anvil. 

I certainly would have one displayed proudly as a yard ornament if I had a bunch and had no money worries. 

I have a friend who has inquired about such anvils in folks yards and most of the time they are not willing to part with them even with generous offers. 

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As a result of a currently popular TV series, blacksmithing has become "all the rage" and everyone and his brother/sister is (or at least in his/her own mind) a budding blacksmith. 

That and the fact that everyone's great grandfather was a blacksmith. 

So investors are driving prices through the roof. 

By way of definition, an investor is a disappointed speculator. May they all lose money.

 

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31 minutes ago, dickb said:

May they all lose money.

I've seen many "antique, collectable" prices and"interests" plummet on things over the years. Who knows how the anvil blacksmith tool market will go, but I have a feeling it will drop off a bit. Also they can only go so high on prices till new anvils become the option, or with more knowledge in the general interested public, improvised anvils. 

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Agreed. 

As for decoration, I used to work in art restoration in NYC, and I've seen some rather odd things that people will spend their money on to decorate their homes. My favorite is still the $30,000 antique bathtub imported from Paris to grace a Fifth Avenue apartment.

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What a thing is worth is what folks think it's worth;  I've seen folks trying for a rustic décor way overpay for "barn items" for their house/patio and then throw them away the next time they redecorate!  I remember an auction in the 90's where a fellow bought a 145# PW with an abused face and a crack through one side of the hardy hole---back then it would have been more of a 25 UScents a pound anvil, he paid $2 a pound. The hardy tools I was interested in---that didn't fit that anvils hardy hole he bought for $35 a piece!  I pointed out to him that they didn't go to that anvil and he told me that it wasn't for using, it was going to be painted black and put by his fireplace in his den...the tooling as well.

Out here a lot of folks Xeriscape their yards and old farm stuff are often placed on the gravel for "interest".  My old IT boss had a falling apart wagon in his yard for instance.   Always amused me to see stuff advertised for hundreds of dollars that I see dumped at the scrapyard for pennies a pound.

My Father taught me about 50 years ago that what something sells for has little to do with how much it costs to make it; clearly shown by the fact I now pay US$245 a vial for insulin that costs around $20 to make!

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I got a free one once when a local florist shop tossed the one that they had been using for their harvest themed window display---a block from my house in the inner city!

I also try to drag out any I see at the scrapyard, once the wood parts decay away some folks will get rid of them...

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Wow, I truly had no idea about people using this stuff as decorations. 

An anvil in the yard... I suppose it could have a Disney type theme going for it. But at a regular house, I have trouble imagining it.

Thanks for the info it explains a lot.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Out here the big trend is a horse drawn plow fixed in place and with a mailbox on top.  I just don't get it.  

I also remember several years ago, toilets were being used as planters.  Just goes to show.

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2 hours ago, Paul TIKI said:

toilets were being used as planters. 

Inside-out tire planters were a big thing where I grew up in Vermont.

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Because I like old tools and putting them back into use seeing them used as decor or a planter or as a lawn ornament is kind of distasteful for me.  I want to rescue them and get them back to work.  The same is true for spinning and weaving tools as a result of the influence of my late wife.  When I see a chair or other piece of furniture made out of spinning wheel parts or a treadle sewing machine it kind of makes me think of something assembled out of human bones.  It's creepy and makes me a bit uncomfortable and sad.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Generally speaking, I'll buy an old tool if I need its functionality and if it's in good shape and cheap. Otherwise, I'll leave it alone.

That said, many older tools have an aesthetic appeal that can come from their design, the signs of age and wear, or both. One of the most beautiful tools I've ever seen was a hod for carrying mortar. The hod itself was two boards nailed together at right angles, and the handle was an oak sapling about two inches in diameter that had been split for part of its length, with the two split sections nailed on either side of the hod itself. There was a glorious simplicity to the design, which was enhanced by the pattern of wear from the carrier's hands on the handle and his shoulder on the underside of the hod's ridge. Beautiful thing.

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John, There aren't many people around any more who know what a hod is.  I don't usually get in to spiritual things regarding tools but it sounds like there was a lot of energy and spirit in that hod.  It is possible that we put a bit of our soul into the things we make and the tools we use.  If that is the case there is still some of the hod carrier's soul or spirit in that hod.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I was a hoddy when I was getting established in Alaska, that's carried hod for folks who don't know. Does that make me old? I usually only feel old when I forget and behave like I was 20 again or start comparing my ailments with the oldsters. <sigh> 

You ain't lived until you've carried 40lbs. of mortar on a hod up 2 flights of ladder to the mason laying block. I gotta tell you, you'd better get his mud to him BEFORE he needs it or the screaming gets intense. Don't bring him 50lbs. so it'll last longer either or he's likely to toss it off the wall and scream even louder while you run for fresh. 

Good memories. Probably because I found a better job at the end of that season. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Not the next job, roofing came a little later as a side job. A friend and I were roofing and we carried our own bundles. I'd rather carry hod, roofing was ALL bent over on an often slippery slope. Fall was a rush to get freshly built homes weathered in so we were back logged. I only did that one season, pumping gas, doing lube oil and filter and tune ups in a service station was better work and steady money. I was working for a pipe inspection company on the north slope when I got on with the state. 

Did lots of other odd jobs but that was a too long enough list.

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 hours ago, George N. M. said:

There aren't many people around any more who know what a hod is. 

For those unfortunates who don't:

hod - Wiktionary

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