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Peter Wright Anvil. Best method to sell?


Kevin gilmore

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Nice one!  Looks to be in good, un-messed-with condition.  PWs are hard to date, like most English anvils.  Since it doesn't have the word "ENGLAND stamped on it, it's pre-1876.  Since it's got the flat-topped feet and handling hole in the front foot, it dates after 1852.  That's about as close as you can get to the actual age, somewhere between those two dates.  Note this is not antique for an anvil.  Just a good old tool.  And that one is in outstanding condition! 

 

The weight should be 124 pounds, unless that center number in the "solid wrought" is a one rather than the zero I'm seeing.  That's a decent weight for general purpose work.  

 

Value, though, depends on where you are and who wants it.  Anvils tend to bring less in the rust belt of the USA (Eastern Wisconsin-Indiana-southern Michigan-Ohio-Pennsylvania-New Jersey) than the rest of the eastern states due to being more common. Prices are highest on the west coast due to high population versus low numbers of anvils.  Twenty years ago $2 -$3/lb was considered a decent price for a used anvil in decent shape in the eastern USA, $5/lb west of the Mississippi. Then Forged in Fire and the various YouTube smiths blew prices through the roof.  Now, $4-$5/lb is more common among actual smiths selling to other smiths in the Eastern US, $8 to $10/lb is common at antique stores and with people trying to grab a profit.  That's more expensive than brand new.  You can get a brand new top quality cast steel anvil for $6 - $10/lb, depending on where it's made.  This is only for the USA, I understand anvils are much cheaper in some parts of the world, and much more expensive in others. Supply and demand.

 

That Peter Wright, though, is top quality new-made wrought iron barstock folded and welded to make the body (most of their competitors at the time used scrap wrought) with a ~3/8" thick face of tool steel forge-welded on top.  They tend to be more lively than modern cast steel anvils, but they also tend to get a little swaybacked over the years since the virgin wrought iron body is soft.  The big danger these face is well-meaning individuals who try to resurface old anvils by grinding or milling the top flat. While the steel face is ~3/8" thick, it's very shallow-hardening steel. The full hardness only extends about 1/16" into the face. If that hard surface is ground or milled off, it kills the rebound, which also kills the value of the anvil. As Jock Dempsey used to say, an anvil was not meant to be a precision reference surface, it's just mostly flat. If you want a precision flat, get a surface plate.  Also, don't expect the face to be perfectly parallel with the base. These are hand made items.

 

Luckily yours has only seen light use. I tell you this so you won't try to remove the little dings.  Work around the deep ones, or peen them level with a large ball peen hammer.  You can polish the face with sandpaper, but no power tools beyond a wire brush or a fine flap wheel on an angle grinder.  Ideally you'll just use it; forging steel will remove the rust nicely without removing metal. You also have excellent edges, which is a plus! Toward the heel they even look a little too sharp.  You want a small radius to the edges.  

 

Welcome aboard, and sorry for the rant if you knew all that. I just love old anvils and hate to see them get ruined, especially when they're in as good a condition as this one.  

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Buy it. Take it home and take care of it.

Welcome to the madness.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

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Yes, good for you!  Put in on your local Craigslist and it'll be gone fast.  Or better, find your local blacksmith guild and let them know.  ABANA is the national organization, and their site should have links to state level groups.

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  • Kevin gilmore changed the title to Peter Wright Anvil. Best method to sell?

Sodus NY is pretty close to me.  We have a branch of ABANA (the New York State Designer Blacksmiths - NYSDB) that meets just west of Rochester once a month.  This is the Genesee chapter.  Your anvil is a good size and in decent condition.  It all depends on how quickly you want to sell it, but priced in the $300-$500 range it should  sell reasonably well.  You could contact the NYSDB forgemaster and ask them to send out a notification and see if there is any interest: https://nysdb.org/

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On 8/21/2023 at 12:31 PM, Alan Longmire said:

The weight should be 124 pounds, unless that center number in the "solid wrought" is a one rather than the zero I'm seeing.  That's a decent weight for general purpose work.  

I see a one, and while perspective is hard to tell from pictures, it looks big to me compared to the bed/back of the vehicle.  I was going to say 180 pounds, and a 180# PW in that condition would go for at least $500 here in the PNW.  But we have a lot of active blacksmiths up here, too.

RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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