Weather Vanes Are Back in Style

Lifestyle farmers take note: Popularity of weather vanes reaches new heights.

| September/October 2009

Weather Vanes in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
West Coast Weather Vanes: Hobby Farmer Turned Weather Vane Maker 

Do you have $1 million perched atop your barn? Believe it or not, certain prized weather vanes have sold for more than that figure at auction. In fact, one folk art original of an Indian chief went for an amazing $5.8 million in October 2006.

While only a few weather vanes can fetch these the-sky's-the-limit prices, recreational farmers can own vintage and modern weather vanes for a lot less.

These treasured symbols of country life have always been appealing, but in recent years, they have become more popular than ever with collectors.

Old and new weather vanes are easy to collect and look charming in your home perched on shelves, tabletops or displayed on walls. Outdoors, they can enliven your garden, deck or patio. They also provide the time-tested practical use when installed on top of your buildings or in open spaces. Here's why your farm or home shouldn't be without these cherished icons of America's rural life. 

Winds of change

Weather vanes used as wind indicators have ancient roots; they can be found in many cultures throughout time. The earliest known weather vane was in Ancient Greece in the form of the Greek god Triton, according to Stacy C. Hollander, senior curator of the American Folk Art Museum, New York City.

“However, weather vanes as recognized today are closely associated with the form developed in America from Colonial times to the present,” she says.

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