These bookends fit within several categories of collectibles, each with its own world of variation: figural cast iron, bookends, and owls. For our audience interested in rustic décor, it is more likely the owl form that will have primary appeal, with their value as uncommon vintage cast iron figures in excellent condition, as well as their usefulness as bookends, being secondary attractions.
For collectors of figural cast iron such as bookends and door stops, condition and rarity are important attributes. These bookends (6” high, 4.25” wide, 2.25” deep) retain their pristine original surface, painted in shades of yellow, green, brown, silver and black.
The form is a stylized owl rather than a portrayal of a particular species – it captures the essence of owl anatomy including large, forward-facing eyes, a facial disk with shortened feathers, and an upright posture.
These owl bookends are attributed to the Albany Foundry Co. which was located on Van Rensselaer Island in the Hudson River opposite the city of Albany, NY. The Albany Foundry was in production from 1897-1932, and these bookends date from circa 1925. The foundry’s model number 79 is stamped on the back bottom edge of one of the owls.
Many people who are attracted to furniture and accessories made of or adorned with natural elements such as twigs, vines, birch bark and pine cones also like to bring the outdoors indoors through representations of wild animals. It is hard not to love owls for the mystery, magic and beauty of nature they convey – best in real life, but second-best in replica.