Spontoon Pipe Tomahawk, ca. 1840

Value (2013) | $30,000 Retail
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GUEST:
It belongs to my husband. 30 years ago or so, he and his family were helping some people clear their house out. He found it, it was something that he liked, and he asked if he could have it, and they said yes, and here it is.

APPRAISER:
This is a pipe tomahawk, a spontoon pipe tomahawk, a particularly interesting example.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
It incorporates an object of war, the blade, a lethal weapon, a very lethal weapon, but as well, a pipe bowl for solemnifying a peace treaty. It's a rather unique North American invention. Nowhere else in the world. Do you have a feeling for age about this?

GUEST:
We have some sort of guesses, and I talked with a friend of mine who is Native American and collects Native American art. He thought it might be French and Indian War, which sort of seemed about right.

APPRAISER:
It probably does relate to the French and Indian War. It's very much pre-reservation, which is essentially about 1875. This piece probably dates to the 1840s, 1850s. It's got tremendous patination on the haft. It's never been cleaned, and we would never want to do that. It's got a really, really great surface. The blacksmith who created this was a genius.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
All along the bowl, all of this file work in here is really exceptional. It's sort of a deluxe version, if you will. It is probably a French-influenced blacksmith. The haft is made of ashwood, a very, very hard wood, long grain. The tobacco that would be smoked in this would be something called kinnikinnick. And that's a tobacco and herbal mixture, indigenous and used throughout North America. Do you have a feeling for a value?

GUEST:
Oh, I have no idea what it's worth. I know it's missing some of the brads and things like that, and it just...

APPRAISER:
The missing brass tacks, that's not a problem whatsoever. That's a no-harm nick, if you will.

GUEST:
Oh, really?

APPRAISER:
It's just got a glowing surface, the wood is beautiful, the tacks are great. I think on a retail basis, this tomahawk would sell in the range of about $30,000.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
Okay. (laughing)

APPRAISER:
This would make a collector really, really happy.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
This would move to the head of the table right away.

GUEST:
I take it into class and I show it to my students at school.

APPRAISER:
Don't clean it. (chuckling)

GUEST:
It's really fabulous. Thank you so much for bringing it in.

APPRAISER:
Oh, no problem. I didn't expect that at all.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Trotta-Bono, Ltd.
Shrub Oak, New York
Appraised value (2013)
$30,000 Retail
Event
Anaheim, CA (June 22, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Form
Pipe, Tomahawk
Material
Ash, Brass

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