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The 18th century silver-mounted tomahawk to be offered by Morphy Auctions on May 27.

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Day one offers historical militaria from the Revolutionary and War of 1812 era and is followed on the next two by sporting and collectors’ firearms.

The tomahawk was made by Richard Butler, an armourer at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania, from 1765-77. He was later commissioned as a captain in the Pennsylvania Militia and was a trusted confidante of the Shawnee and Delaware Indians. The blade is signed R. Butler and inscribed Lt Maclellan on the cap.

Maclellan served with the Pennsylvania Riflemen and carried the weapon with him during the Revolutionary War (riflemen were required to carry tomahawks as secondary weapons as their long rifles were not equipped for bayonets.)

He died en route to Quebec and the tomahawk was given to his brother Daniel who continued to Quebec and participated in the battle, where he was taken prisoner by the British.

A British officer plundered the tomahawk along the rest of the prisoner’s valuable possessions and the war trophy was taken back to England. A catalogue of ‘the Rarities to be seen at Don Saltero’s Coffee-House in Chelsea’ printed in 1785 in London lists number 148 as ‘Indian tomahawk, taken in the field of battle before Quebec’.

The tomahawk was purchased by George Greville (1746- 1818), Earl of Warwick, for his arms collection at Warwick Castle. It remained there until it was loaned to the Tower of London. In 1997, the Earl of Warwick decided to offer some of the collection at auction and the tomahawk was sold at Sotheby’s New York.

Since then it has featured in several private collections and has also been exhibited and included in a number of reference works. It is offered with an archive of documentation and an estimate of $300,000-500,000.

'Little Miss Sure Shot'

Included in the collector’s firearms section of the sale is a custom made ‘Little Miss Sure Shot’ rifle belonging to Annie Oakley, the famous star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

The Stevens Model 44 .24-20 single-shot rifle engraved Annie Oakley and Nutley NJ (the location of Oakley and husband Frank Butler’s first home) has an estimate of $200,000-$400,000.

morphyauctions.com