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 October 21.
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 Toronto.
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.