Introducing Merchant

By Don Wolfe RM981 and Art DelFavero RM552

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Back in 2002 I took a chance on a bad eBay photo and bid the minimum required, $80.00 and $5.00 for shipping. Later she was mine (second example shown). Knowing that I had seen another one out there somewhere, out came the books, Bo Tales, and auction catalogues. It didn't take long to find the match, it came by way of Lot #47 in the August 1996, O.H.N.S. auction #4, with a hammer price of $275.00. Fast forwarding about 12 years to January of 2008 Don Wolfe, a collector and co-contributor to this article picked up this 3rd beauty on eBay for $200.00 and change. Low and behold, 3 months later Ralph Winter, (our editor) nailed this 4th specimen on eBay for $196.50 including shipping. The average price across the board is $190.00.

We didn't choose a carving feature to name this artist but rather a look of the subject. Our “Merchant” is a crisp, well dressed looking fellow, with a tenacious drive to sell you something. In other words, he bears the look of the quintessential traveling salesman of an era gone by.

The carving characteristics for the “Merchant” are listed as follows:

  1. A 3 dimensional derby style hat that rides low on back of the head.
  2. Punched hair and beard, and always a tuft of hair under the front of the hat.
  3. A simple and somewhat obscured ear.
  4. A double collar atop a shoulder.
  5. Dates removed.
  6. Well dressed fields.
  7. Nice use of hand gravers and liner tool evident.
  8. An over all sculpted 3-D look.

Our assessment of quality for this artist is above average to above average high.