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Help with anvil identification!


Jan 13, 2019
Port Crane
Hi all!

I recently came into possession of an old anvil - bought it off of a neighbor that was using it as a lawn ornament. I know virtually nothing about anvils, but my research has led me to understand that they can have some value and that there are a ton of intricacies in proper identification. My research also leads me to believe that some of the members here are a lot better at anvil identification than I am, so, thoughts on the attached pictures?

The anvil weighs approximately 120 lbs, and the only 'marking; is an 'IS' on the right side (horn facing right). It has a hole in front below the horn, hole in back, and hole on the bottom.

I appreciate the help! Happy to answer any additional questions.






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A quick look through Postman's Anvils in America book makes no reference to an "I S" trade mark. There were virtually hundreds of anvil makers in America and most early makers didn't bother to mark them. Your's is interesting in that it has no table or hardy hole. The square holes were for handling the anvil as it was forged.
As to maker, no clue. Age? maybe around +- 1850's. Value? I'd say there is an anvil collector who very much would desire it but it's a VERY limited market.
Hopefully a more knowledgeable anvil guy will pop his head up in which case I defer to his experiance...Bob
It looks to be in great shape for its age. That shape makes me think it is very old, bhigdog may be close on the age, could be older.
It has tong holes in it so it is a forged anvil, most likely wrought iron with a hard steel top plate. Do not do any grinding or machining on the top as that will thin the top plate and reduce its usefulness. A blacksmith forum might have someone with a better idea of maker. Going rate on used anvils is aprox $4/lb so yours is worth almost $500.
Thanks for the info! Definitely not going to do any actual work on it until I find out more about its history and whatnot. Do you have any recommendations for Blacksmith-specific forums?

Again, cannot thank you enough for this.
Thanks Bob! Yeah I understand that buyers are there, but few and far between. No guarantee that it gets sold anyway, but definitely curious to know the value even if it just for storytelling.
nwba- NorthWest Blacksmith Assoc. is one, Anvilfire and ifi- I forge Iron, some others. There should be an Abana affiliate group in your area Abana would be a place to look for info also- Artist Blacksmith Assoc of North America. Their website should lead you to local to you group(s)
There are plenty of blacksmiths and/or bladesmiths once you get in the right circles.
Older than that....

I would hazard a guess that your anvil is older than the previous comments suggest. The lack of a Hardy hole (the square one) indicates that it was made prior to 1800. That also means it was most likely made in England. But, those are guesses, FB has a page of experts that nailed down the maker of my anvil in a day, I had been trying to two decades. The page is Ancient Anvils, Unusual and Rare Ancient Anvils, Unusual and Rare. Good luck!
The anvil looks to be a Colonial period anvil, probably before 1800. Send the photographs to Peter Ross, in Siler City, NC. Peter was the forge master at Colonial Williamsburg, and is probably the best authority for early forged iron items. He can be reached at: peter@peterrossblacksmith.com. If you have problems connecting, search Peter m. Ross.
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