Hog (Oiler) Heaven
(Page 5 of 5)
$30 – Common oilers (steel, two wheelers); $100-150 – Columbian, Wilson; $300 – Ball, Lennox, Watermelon; $400 – Soo; $600 – Schultz upright, All-Over; $700-$800 – Bullet- or rocket-shaped oilers; $3,000 or more – Swine-Ezer.
Estimates are for oilers in mint condition which, according to Moore, means oilers with original parts, no cracks, no donor parts, and distinct, clear lettering (an indication of little wear). Repaired patches and filled cracks can be spotted by differences in the metal's pores. Metals cast at different times rarely match. Discrepancies in the welds are also telltale signs of restoration.
Savvy collectors, however, are wise to befriend someone who works at a foundry as well as an accomplished welder. Oiler lids lost in hog lots years ago can be recast at foundries-at a relatively low cost if you have an inside contact. And an artisan welder can reattach legs that have snapped off oftentimes in the style of the original welds. Quality repairs will not only enhance the look of your pieces, but also increase their value. FC
Layne Cameron is an Indianapolis-based writer whose books include Mountain Bike Indiana and Kidding Around Indianapolis. He has also written for Men's Health, Sports Illustrated for Kids, the American Legion Magazine and Bicycling.
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