Pipe, Gaming Pieces & Quirt
There was a gentleman who owned the first trading post at Manitou Springs, Colorado, by the name of Mr. Ellison. His wife's father was one of the first archaeologists into Mesa Verde, and they owned the Manitou Springs Gallery for 40 or 50 years. He was a great collector of antiquities and a great patron of the Indian Native Americans.
And we have some documentation that suggests that a lot of this material was collected by the same family early on in the 1930s... or as late as the 1930s. The object at the bottom is a peace pipe, a man's pipe. And what's particularly beautiful about this pipe outside of the brass wrapping and the brass tacks is this is one of the most slenderly beautiful bowls I've seen. It has this very delicate line engraving of a human head, probably a man's head. And that's quite unusual for a pipe like this and, to my eye, very beautiful. The other things in the middle generally are fairly mundane objects. They're gaming pieces for a hand game played by the Native Americans. These are the most beautiful I've ever seen of that type with the engraving, the painting, and the copper inlays. But the thing that stopped everybody in their tracks at my table when you pulled it out was this horse quirt. GUET: Yes.
As you know, the tag calls this a horse whip where we usually call them quirts, and they were used to control the horse. This would have originally had a long leather thong. It also would have had a handle here that he could loop it through his wrists so as he was riding, it wouldn't fall off. And the handle would have almost certainly been decorated perhaps with quillwork or beadwork. Frequently, the long leather thong would have brass tacks. And it's made from... This is made from elk antler. And not any elk antler, but a huge rack from an elk. This is a very large antler. This could be any Plains Indian, then. It's very hard. Most of this, as we know from the documentation, came from Pawnee, Oklahoma. This is likely not Pawnee. This is Northern Plains. Cheyenne, or... Cheyenne, Arapaho, perhaps Sioux. And this is unequivocally the greatest quirt I have ever seen in my life. It's beautiful. Inside any museum, outside of a museum, The quality of the engraving on this is phenomenal. It's as good as the best ledger drawings we have ever seen. This man's hunting a buffalo with a bow and arrow. The buffalo tracks at the bottom are extraordinary. I initially thought this was perhaps early 19th-century, but when we turn it over, we see a hunter shooting a buffalo with a handgun, which helps us date it to more the mid-19th century. In terms of value, the pipe at the bottom, you're probably looking at $4,000 to $5,000. The gaming pieces-- not very valuable, but very beautiful-- perhaps $1,200, $1,500. The quirt--boy, what a quirt-- has an old tag on it that says $25.
Yes. APPRAISAL: You think that would be a fair appraisal?
Well, very safely, this quirt is worth $30,000 to $35,000. Congratulations.
It is an extraordinary work of art.
It's certainly cherished.
One of the great line-engraved objects I have ever seen.
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