When I purchased this item at a local auction it was purley on a gamble. It was so unique and with a purchase price of $200 I just couldn't resist it. It is made out of solid bronze and at $2.50 a pound it would be worth around $500 in scrap metal alone. So I pretty much knew that I couldn't loose money. Just for the heck of it I sent photos off to Sotheby's African and Oceanic sales department. I thought that the inquiry was free and after their assessment I would know for sure on whether I should scrap it for the $500 or try to sale it as an antique whatever. Today I got my answer.
Hooray for our team. It turns out that although it isn't worth millions it is worth thousands. Their estimate was between $16-20,000. This estimate was based on the photo's and could possibly be higher or lower upon the actual physical inspection. They said that they felt that it was most likely Ivory Coast tribal from the mid to late 1800's. They further stated that it was probably imported into the U.S. market in the 1950's. I replied to them that the previous owner had stated that he purchased it from a museum in the 1970's and that he had paid around $2,000 for it.
I have to admit that this descriptive story is so convincing that I'm beginning to believe it. Anyways, enjoy your April 1.