THIS late 18th/early 19th century Native American ball-head club made a house record when it sold for £33,000 at Charles Ross auctioneers in Woburn, Bedfordshire.
The 2ft 1in (64cm) club was consigned by a local vendor who had
owned it for 40 years but presumed it was virtually worthless, and
was pitched at a "there-to-be-sold" estimate of £1000-1500 on
Although there was no bidding in the room, seven phone lines
were booked for the lot, three from America and the rest from the
UK, and it sold to a New York dealer.
The club is probably from the Great Lakes region, and bears a
strong similarity to the Ojibwa tribe club sold by Warwickshire
auctioneers Bigwood in November last year for £19,500 (plus 15 per
cent buyer's premium) to William Jamieson of Jamieson Tribal Art in
But while the Bigwood club was marked with 11 stick men
signifying the number of kills made by the owner, the club at
Charles Ross had no such macabre markings, but was incised with a
more decorative pattern.
This type of club with a tapering shaft and globular head carved
from a single piece of wood was common during Colonial times from
the Atlantic coast to the Missouri river. Some of the Native
American tribes, including the Ojibwa warriors, allied themselves
with the British army during the American Revolution, and it was
quite common for them to swap weapons with the British troops as a
form of souvenir.
Given its probable late 18th century date, the club could have
been brought to England by a soldier returning from the American
Revolutionary War of 1775-1783.
The buyer's premium was 15 per cent.
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