Historic Weathervanes

Written by Patty Yu
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Collectors understand the value of historic weathervanes, and search far and wide to find unique, rare antique weathervanes all over the world. Collecting weathervanes can be a great investment if you know what you're looking for. These decorative and functional ornaments date back to ancient Greece, when people believed winds held divine powers, and styles have evolved tremendously since.

The word "vane" comes from "fane," which is an Anglo-Saxon word that describes a flag. Fabric flags used to show archers wind direction, but were eventually replaced by metal banners that turn in the wind. Many consider these historic weathervanes precursors to the modern weathervane made today in Europe and the United States, and many are still made in the banner or flag style.

The first documented weathervane maker in the U.S. designed three famous historic weathervanes; one in the shape of a grasshopper, a banner weathervane, and a weathervane shaped as an Native American all placed on Boston landmarks. In the 1800s, patriotic designs became quite popular, while the 1900s saw an increase in silhouette weathervane designs.

Modern and Historic Weathervanes

Although antique weathervanes are valuable now, contemporary weathervanes also have great potential to increase in value. As long as weathervane manufacturers create high quality pieces, demand will remain strong. Ornament design provides a creative outlet, but the weathervane makers must make sure the piece works accurately. By making sure the ornament is unequal in mass, but equal in area from the center, the weathervane will work correctly.


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