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paper wasp (unknown artist)

Started by bmathison1972, May 11, 2018, 10:52:52 PM

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Walk-around of a wasp figure by an unknown artist. The figure is probably generic but the morphology to me is most suggestive of the western paper wasp, Mischocyttarus flavitarsus (Saussure, 1854). This species is endemic to the western half of North America.

A little background on this figure. I stumbled upon it on eBay one day. It was being sold alongside a similar cecropia moth (also reviewed here today) as handmade tin insect figurines. The starting bid was about USD 3.50. I bid it, about 1-2 days before closing, with a max bid of USD 20. Well, about 4 hours before it closed, I was outbid. I decided to try for 50. Outbid. 70. Outbid. What the heck, USD 100. Outbid. Hmmm. 120. Outbid. 150. Outbid. I thought what the heck, did USD 200 and was not outbid. Then about 20 minutes later, I got outbid. I decided I was going to let it go. Anything 200 or more for these two figures couldn't be worth it, right? Well as the last couple hours ticked away I started thinking I was not going to get beat. No way, not today. With 13 seconds left, I snuck in a max bid of USD 225. As usual, when max bids are preplanned, they alternate up about 2 dollars at a time. Well, that started to happen, and I won them in the last second with a bid of USD 220.20! I can't believe I did that! But with the figures in-hand now, I have absolutely NO regrets!

I contacted the seller to see if she was the artist or know who it was. I introduced myself and my hobby and told her I like the info for my database. She said she was an artist, but not the creators of these gems. She bought them years ago at an estate sale in Florida (where the seller happens to live as well). Who knows where they originated...

On the the figure. The wasp (shown here) measures about 6.5 cm, not including the antennae. The wings at their widest points apart measure 8.0 cm between them. The longest distance between two points of the base is 11.0 cm. It stands 9.0 cm high. It's probably in the 2:1 size range. The figure was sold as being tin, but it feels maybe wood? Plastic? I honestly cannot tell. The wings are thinner and may be a coated paper of some kind. It is attached to a flower with a wire. The flower and its leaves are plastic, but not cheap like plastic flowers usually are. The plastic plant is then attached to a piece of driftwood.

Let these images speak for themselves: