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The Collectics Antiques Information & Education pages are designed to further knowledge of antiques, collectibles, collecting styles, periods, artists, designers, and manufacturers of fine and decorative arts. To learn more, our Antique Collector Bookstore lists only the best collector books and price guides, complied by surveys of top antique dealers and auction houses. For a different shopping experience, you can also browse our featured selections in a fun new way with the Antique Price Guides Slideshow or see current bestsellers by using Collector Books Topic Search.

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Metal and wooden weathervanes have decorated homes, stores, and barns for many years, from the early days of hand production through the revolutions of the industrial age. Weathervanes can be both beautiful and utilitarian, functioning as an indicator of the wind and the weather. Antique weathervanes are one of the most popular categories of folk art today, and one must be careful of reproductions at the same time that theft of these antique crafts has seen a dramatic rise commensurate with the rise in their value. 

Weathervanes were made mostly by hand prior to about 1850, crafted by skilled artisans in copper, iron, zinc, and even wood. While shapes and sizes vary greatly, animals were quite popular including horses, cows, pigs, roosters, and even Indians, trains, and flags. Follwing the Civil War, America returned to business and reconstruction, and several concentrations of mass weathervane and other metalwork manufacture were established in New England. Most were made from thin sheets of copper either hand hammered or press molded into the desired form. The three dimensional natrue of most antique weathervanes meant that halves and pieces had to be soldered together, so the proper fit and trim quality is another indication of age and quality. Weathervanes were sold in shops, stores, and in mail order catalogues, available at a variety of prices and accessible to much of the population and as such grew quite popular as ornamental and functional items.

True antique weathervanes have been exposed to weather for 50+ years and sometimes much longer, so you should expect them to look aged and weathered so to speak. Paint will survive only in areas for works which were hand painted, while natural copper develops the green or verdigris patina which is not easily replicated by chemical reproductions. Iron weathervanes will develop a dark crusty red rust on the surface, often with pitting. Weathervanes made of wood are even more susceptible to aging, and most have the look of driftwood in appearance, often with cracks and rounded edges. It should also be noted that natural aging has patterns, and in the case of weathervanes that usually means one side is more exposed to the elements than the other. As such, this is another means that experts use to identify reproductions and fakes.  If you want a clean, pristine weathervane, you should buy a new piece because antique weathervanes are just not going to look that way, or if they do will have been refinished which eliminates much of the collector value.

When buying antique weathervanes, it's smart to buy from an educated dealer or to take the time to educate yourself since prices and quality vary widely. In general, one looks to the detailing in the work, an indication of the relative capabilities of the artist, and collectors today like original condition with original paint ansd patina. Collectors also like fun "themes" and action, and in general the more elaborate and larger the work the greater the market value. While few weathervanes were marked by the manufacturer, those that are command premium prices in the market. However, as before, one must be particularly careful of reproductions when purchasing antique folk art such as weathervanes.

Ever been fooled by a fake or a seller that didn't deliver the goods as described? At Collectics, we authenticate and stand behind everything we sell, at prices "30% below your local antique shop" according to Collectibles Guide 2010. Please browse our main Antiques & Collectibles Mall to find a treat for yourself or a great gift for others, all with free shipping. Thanks for visiting and shopping at Collectics!

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Buy antique weathervanes and other finer bronze, copper, iron, and other metal on the Collectics Bronze & Metalware and Fine Antiques pages, or search the entire site for great antiques, collectibles, and crafts for every collector!

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The Art of the Weathervane Figurative Cast Iron: A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors)
Art Deco: 1910-1939
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