North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Legends of the West: Western & Native American Sale

Sat, Sep 23, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Lot 131

Ca. 1775- Rare Lenape Ball Head War Club

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$30,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
This is a phenomenally rare and historically important early Lenape-Delaware ball head war club collected in the late-1700s in Coshocton, Ohio. This is rare and early piece was carved from one piece of wood, the root burl of a tree with burl ball head. As on many early Eastern Woodlands Indian examples, there is a minimum of brass trade tack decorations with a few simple circles on one side and a large “X” on the other side. The large “X” symbol is documented as a Native American symbol for war. The club has several carved symbols on the right side of the club below the tacking which appears to tell a story, possibly of a Warrior’s exploits. Many of these Lenape-Delaware symbols have been verified and compared to the Project Gutenberg book of Early Lenape-Delaware Legends and symbols by Daniel Brinton. The war club is from circa 1775-1800 and has a nice, deep patina over the entire piece with small pierced holes that likely held a drop of feathers or beads at one time. The piece shows an impressive carved gunstock pattern. The gripping area has wear to the finish and there are some possibly kill-tally marks carved into the club as well. This club was reportedly taken from a slain Lenape warrior at the 1781 Broadhead Massacre at Coshocton, Ohio by one of the soldiers, who’s family many generations later donated it to the White Eyes Township Historical Society. Then the historical society was disbanded and the building and property were sold to the Amish, a noted Indiana Native weapons collector acquired the club. This is truly one of the most important ball heads currently offered for sale in well preserved condition with beautiful display. Measures 26 ½ inches in length and the ball head is 4 inches long.*