Lot 133

c. 1860 Nez Perce Spontoon War Tomahawk

Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
The lot features an terrific, circa 1860 spontoon war tomahawk attributed to the Nez Perce Indians of Idaho from the DuPont family collection. This is a hand-forged iron head with upward curled basal processes and kite-shaped spontoon blade with a slightly raised median ridge running down the center on both sides, which is an important early art feature documented on authentic examples by tomahawk authors and scholars Baldwin, Francis, Peterson and Hartzler & Knowles. The center of the blade has an attractive brass inlay on both sides. The blade was cleaned at some point by a previous collector to expose the inlay better, a common early weapons collector practice. The hard wood haft is elaborately adorned with brass trade tack designs in groups or clusters of different sizes as well as old faded hot file branding. The gripping section of the haft has some wear of the finish, as often seen on well used authentic examples. The bottom end of the haft has a section of recycled war shirt fringe and striped trade clothe attached with old tree sap and hide glue. The entire tomahawk has a nice mellow patina from honest age and use and is in excellent well kept condition for its early age with minor expected wear. These type of spontoon war tomahawk were found primarily with Northern Plains and upper Plateau region tribes such as the Mandan, Sioux, Crow and Nez Perce. Meriwether Lewis first documented this type of Indian weapon on Lewis & Clark’s 1804 expedition up the Missouri River basin and sketched on in his journal, a photo example is shown for reference. Provenance: From the ex-collection of the DuPont family of St. Louis, MO. Measures 28 inches in length with a head that is 9 inches long.