This piece gets the (butter) stamp of approval!
Question: I found this unusual wooden object at a yard sale last year. Since I collect interesting-looking wood items, I paid two dollars for this piece. The seller had no idea what it was, or what it was used for. It has a handle that pushes down to an image of a swan. It obviously was used to stamp the image, but there are no ink stains. It is 6.5 inches high, including the handle, by a 4.75-ich base. What is it and what is its value ?
Answer: You have a piece of American culinary history: an antique butter stamp. From the 17th century and into the 1920s, in some areas, butter was made at home and both dairy farmers and housewives marked the butter with a design.
Early butter stamps were chip carved by the farmers and hand pressed with a wood press such as yours. Wood butter molds have been popular with collectors for decades who look for the most unusual designs. Eagle stamps can sell in the high hundreds of dollars. Yours, if not a reproduction, could have a dealer price of $100 or more.