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  • The Roadshow Archive

    Frontierman's Pipe Tomahawk

    Appraised Value:

    $150,000

    Appraised on: August 19, 2000

    Appraised in: Boston, Massachusetts

    Appraised by: William Guthman

    Category: Arms & Militaria

    Episode Info: Greatest Finds (#814)

    Originally Aired: May 3, 2004

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Tomahawk
    Material: Silver, Tiger Maple
    Period / Style: 18th Century
    Value Range: $150,000

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    Comment

    Appraisal Video: (2:21)

    appraiser

    Appraised By:

    William Guthman
    Arms & Militaria

    Appraisal Transcript:
    APPRAISER: Tell me what you know about this tomahawk.

    GUEST: The tomahawk came to me from my grandmother. It was handed down in the family. It originally came, I understand, a lady came from Philadelphia and married into the family and brought that with her. Now, my grandmother gave it to me years ago and it's been in a closet ever since.

    APPRAISER: This was a wonderful frontiersman's tomahawk. It was made for a man that would go out in the frontier with probably a rifle and maybe he was a fur trader, maybe he was a soldier. Uh, I probably think he was a soldier. It was made by a gunsmith in Pennsylvania or Virginia around 1780 or 1790. It has this wonderful silver engraved eagle, this early, Federal eagle, which is very, very hard to find. It has this silver medallion engraved "G.W." and we can think it was George Washington that might have given this tomahawk to somebody whose initials are J.H., which could have been Josiah Harmar or John Harden. They were soldiers in the 1780s and '90s. And, uh, a tomahawk like this is very scarce. It's a national treasure, in my opinion, and very seldom turns up. It's curly maple. When you were a young man, you lost the cap which kept this head on.

    GUEST: I was always beating on stumps with it.

    APPRAISER: And you lost the silver mouthpiece, but still, there's enough of it here. It's just a wonderful, wonderful piece of 18th-century frontier Americana. Do you have any idea of the value?

    GUEST: Not a clue.

    APPRAISER: Well, if you had an idea when you were playing with it, you might have been more careful. But if I were going to offer this tomahawk in my shop or at a show I would ask $150,000. I think it's worth every bit of that.

    GUEST: My God...

    APPRAISER: It's just a wonderful piece of Americana.

    GUEST: Wow, I'm stunned.

    APPRAISER: Well, there are probably 30 of this quality that I've seen. There aren't a lot of tomahawks like this. So don't play with it anymore.

    GUEST: It will not beat any more stumps. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.



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