Framed skeleton may be from the 1920s

Published 6:07 am Saturday, October 20, 2018


Personal Effects

Question: Hi Mr. Sampson. What do you make of this paper skeleton that I have? It’s framed and is in excellent condition. It’s paper and the joints are moveable. I think that it might have been used in a school room. What do you think of it and its value?

Email newsletter signup

Answer: Well, I think that I like him. The fascination and horror of skeletons have thrilled people for countless centuries. Skeletons bridge the gap between life and death. They have been represented from the medial classroom to the horror show, all to the thrill of the very people who have skeletons inside them.

It’s a very bold and graphic looking piece. Skeletons are one of the most common Halloween themes.

But it’s common for a reason: they are classic. I personally don’t think that it was used in a classroom setting. I’ve seen teaching examples before and they usually are well labeled and annotated. I think this was a Halloween decoration. You didn’t give me a size, but I’m judging that it’s a pretty good size. Just about every manufacturer that created holiday themes, American and German, made some type of articulated “bone man.” It looks that it’s well-detailed and could be a lithograph. Being it’s framed, I date him to the 1920s or so.

Being framed helps the value. Good framing is expensive. I wager that at a good antiques show it would sell from about $300, depending on the exact size and condition. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.