As we look back on our barn find adventures, we realize how fantastic all the authentic antiques we found really are. The yellow and black glass eyes looking back at us were no exception.
There they were standing on the barn floor. They glowed as the light caught their glassy eyes. This was our first encounter with fireplace andirons this old and with this much detail and artistry.
Just as impressive, my wife jumped in to help pull them out only to find that they weighed more then she did. I got that look I always get when her willingness to help does not match her physical capabilities.
We later found that this was and still is a very popular set of fireplace andirons. They dated late 1800s to the early 1900s, measured 15in. tall, 9 1/2in. wide, and would reach 17in. into the fireplace. There popularity stemmed from their yellow and black glass eyes. When set up in front of the fireplace, the light from the fire makes the eyes come to life.
However, if you want a true set of antique owl andirons you need to avoid reproductions. These andirons are still manufactured today with modern methods. Make sure to do some research on identifying antique cast iron.
Additionally, take note of the condition of the glass eyes. This feature affects value. Many times the eyes are missing altogether, while some have cracks or chips. We were fortunate, our owl eyes where in excellent condition.
Many times the owls are broken away from the andiron stands. This happens because there is a lot of tension on the joint that connects the owl to the stand. If you come across a pair like this it can be repaired. However, it can only be welded by a specialty welder that has the welding rods and equipment for cast iron. Most welding shops don’t carry this so save some time by calling ahead.
From owls to dragons, you never know what holds value…
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