Heritage Auctions to sell rare Iroquois war club June 25

Iroquois ball-head war club, circa 1800, wood, fine brown patina. Estimate: $60,000-$80,000. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A rare Iroquois weapon from more than 200 years ago is among the items in highest demand at Heritage Auctions’ Ethnographic Art: American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Auction June 25. The top lots in this sale of American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal art all come from private collections. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

An Iroquois ball-head war club ($60,000-$80,000), circa 1800, is a beautiful hand-carved hardwood piece with fine brown patina, measuring 28 inches long. Tracing back to the Iroquois tribe that lived mostly in what is now western and northern New York, it is a solid weapon, not just a ceremonial item.

“This is a beautiful weapon, and weapons are enormously popular with collectors, many of whom see them as the ultimate symbol of masculinity,” said Delia Sullivan, Heritage Auctions’ Senior Ethnographic Art Specialist. “Ball-head war clubs like this rank right up there with the most coveted lots that come to auction, like war shirts, so to find one as beautiful and rare as this one, and in such exceptional condition, makes the interest more than understandable.”

Two Yokuts coiled baskets ($50,000-$70,000) comprise a lot of matching baskets from central California, circa 1925. It is most unusual to find baskets from so long ago with documentation naming the weaver – in this case, a woman named Aida Maggie Icho (a.k.a. Wachnomkot). To boot, the size and condition of these baskets is extraordinary, making them superlative examples.

Two Yokuts polychrome coiled baskets by Aida Maggie Icho (Wachnomkot), circa 1925. Estimate: $50,000-$70,000. Heritage Auctions image

From the same private collection as the Iroquois ball-head war club, a rare Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket ($30,000-$50,000) is the kind of lot that has remained popular with collectors, along with other items from the Northwest Coast. Woven of mountain goat hair in what has been called one of the most complex weaving techniques in the world, this is typical of the kind of garment that would have been worn by a chief during potlach (gift-giving feast) ceremonies. Chilkat weaving can be applied to a number of items, including blankets, robes, dance tunics, aprons, shirts, bags and wall hangings. Chilkat weaving often includes a long wool fringe that sways when the person wearing or carrying it dances.

Tlingit Chilkat blanket, circa 1890, 68in. wide. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000. Heritage Auctions image

Other top lots include:

– Plateau beaded wool horse mask ($5,000-7,000).

– Hopi polychrome bowl, possibly by Nampeyo, #19 ($5,000-$7,000).

– Micmac quilled chair ($4,000-6,000).

– San Ildefonso blackware plate by Tony Da, #20 ($4,000-6,000).