Will Angel Gabriel weathervane top folk art sale?

A 19th century weathervane in the shape of the Angel Gabriel is to star in a sale of US folk art at Sotheby's New York.

It will lead the January 23 auction of the collection of Stephen and Petra Levin with a valuation of $1.2m-1.5m.

Angel Gabriel weathervane
Weathervanes displaying the Angel Gabriel are extremely rare

The lot is believed to originate from New England, but its maker remains unknown.

Sotheby's explains its extraordinary appeal: "The Gabriel Weathervane, also known as 'Fame,' is considered the most desirable and rare form in the iconography of American weathervanes.

"This figure embodies the magic of the Heavens and the highest personification of human fantasy."

While this may seem a large estimate for a simple weathervane, were it to make $1.5m it would be far from the most valuable sold.

The record stands at $5.8m, set for a Native American figure at Sotheby's in 2006.

An American eagle carving by the renowned maker John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914) carries an estimate of $600,000-800,000.

Bellamy's iconic eagle carvings are considered masterpieces of American folk art. His greatest work, the figurehead of the USS Lancaster, is on display in the Mariner's Museum in Newport, Virginia.

The present lot could set a new auction record for his work, which stands at $660,000 for a carving sold in 2005.

The auction will also include the famous Buckeye Family carvings.

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