Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3081: 18th Century French Trade Attributed Brass Pipe Tomahawk

Auction Date: September 12, 2021

Rare Documented 18th Century French Trade Attributed Brass Pipe Tomahawk

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,000 - $5,000

Rare Documented 18th Century French Trade Attributed Brass Pipe Tomahawk

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 699
Item Interest: Active
Catalog Page: 59
Class: Other

These scarce tomahawks were a popular trade item amongst Native Americans due to their attractive color and non-corrosive properties, and were produced by both the French and British throughout the mid to late 18th century. They are relatively scarce now due to the brass heads not being as durable as iron. Many examples of trade good ledgers of the time show these brass pipe tomahawks being worth approximately twice as much as their iron counterparts. This specific example is pictured on p. 170 of "Indian Tomahawks & Frontiersmen Belt Axes" by Hartzler and Knowles, where it is described as being of French origin and that it was found in New York. The head of this example is somewhat crude in comparison to other French examples, reminiscent of a trade good. The head is approximately 6 inches long including the bowl with a 2 inch wide edge. The ash handle is a deep brown-red color, a brass ferrule with serrated edge at the bottom, with bone mouth piece at the bottom and plug at the top.

Rating Definition:

Fine, showing mostly an attractive aged patina on the brass as well as the typical marks of a frontier used tomahawk. The handle is also fine with scattered minor scratches attributed to period use. A rare piece from the early fur trade era of North America.

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