Lot 89

C. 1870-80 Osage Missouri War Axe Tomahawk

Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000

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
This is an excellent circa 1870’s to 1880’s Missouri War Axe Tomahawk attributed to the Osage Indians of Oklahoma. The piece consists of a hand-forged iron head forged from thin sheet iron with an exceptional weeping heart cutout (cut out) at the center of the blade and slight rear-facing spur. For an identical example of head see the Missouri War Axe from the Pawnee or Osage sold by Bonhams Auction in their Native American Art December 5, 2011 sale for $7,000 (see the example in the pictures for reference). The war axe tomahawk head is secured to a solid wood haft handle at the round eyelet hole with solid brass trade tacks. The haft is adorned with bands of solid brass trade tacks, wraps of old paint strips of hide and the gripping area being wrapped in Indian hide, rawhide / parfleche with hide lacing, thing frilly fringe at the top and long fringes at the base as a drop secured with solid brass trade tacks. The piece shows a dark patina head with haft having nicks, dings, and scratches from age. The hide was likely a later addition to the piece which has some stiffening from age as well. The tomahawk war club head has a larger wide triangular shape and is considered to be a "Missouri War Axe" a term coined by American Indian weapons collectors to describe this particular style of tomahawk. They were first discovered by Lewis & Clark on their 1804-1805 expedition financed by Thomas Jefferson, which sent them exploring up the upper Missouri River basin. Meriwether Lewis wrote about these weapons and sketched one in his journal, stating that the local Indians were fervently requesting the expedition blacksmith to make additional examples for them. He went as far as to state that it was the only item the Indians were willing to trade corn, grain and other expedition necessities for and that manufacture, and trade of additional axes is what solely got the explorers through the winter of 1805. Only a small handful of tribes were known to have used this style of tomahawk and in only one specific region. They were made in small numbers, making early surviving examples such as this extremely rare and historically important. Provenance: From the ex-collection of Tom Hardy and Dale Harrison. The head measures 8.25”L by 4.75”W across the bottom of the blade. The tomahawk itself is 22”L not including the fringe drop.