This is what's called a “Pattern maker's mold”. The Molding process for casting metal parts began with making a hand carved wooden mold of the exact size needed, these wooden molds were then used to cast molds of materials capable of with standing the temperatures of molten metals or used in sand casting. The making of patterns, called pattern making (sometimes styled pattern-making or pattern making), was a skilled trade that often incorporated elements of fine woodworking. Pattern makers (sometimes styled pattern-makers or pattern makers) learn their skills through apprenticeships and trade schools over many years of experience.
All that's required to maintain these molds is a regular application of a good paste wax, which will prevent cracking and warping of the wood by keeping the moisture level reasonably constant. These molds, particularly the larger ones used to cast gears and sprockets have been used as Decorator pieces and hung on walls in theme based restaurants and bars. Values vary by size and complexity, one comparable to this one would sell at auction in the $200.00- $275.00 range.