Re: the San Diego Looff Carousel. The winning bidders on entire
carousels then often break them up and put the individual animals,
panels, chariots, organs, etc., up for auction. This turns a profit
for them, but unfortunately breaks up the original carousels. I can
recall one Parker jumper, "Lilibelle", that auctioned for $125,000.
There is a controversy over whether this is "morally" sound or not.
On one hand, a running antique carousel takes quite a beating and
the figures often need expensive restoration. On the other hand,
private collectors are more apt to spend extra cash to have them
expertly restored and repaired, which a running carousel can't afford
to do. Many of the more famous carousels and carousel figures, such as
the haunted military horse on the Cedar Point Ohio Carousel (Muller),
have been replaced with fiberglass replicas, and the originals
(hopefully) become museum pieces.
My interest in carousel figures began about 15 years ago when I carved
a carousel rocking horse (Coney Island style) for my first grandson,
and then began to carve wood replicas of different carousel animals
I met the master carver, Sherrell Andersen, and his assistant and
later partner, Ross Clark, who had just finished restoring the Spillman
carousel that was all but destroyed in the Teton Dam flood in Rexburg,
Idaho, about 100 miles from here. They were just starting their
carving business there as "The Carousel Man." They have since moved
to Mansfield, Ohio, and changed the name to "Carousel Magic." They
generously taught me all about building the carving blanks, built the
first ones for me, and gave me tips on carving them.