GWYNNEVILLE, Ind. – During the past 25 years, Gary Cuckler quietly assembled an astounding prehistoric artifact collection. From his slice of paradise in rural Iowa, Cuckler put together a varied assemblage of superb “relics,” which will be sold on Saturday, Feb. 22, by Tony Putty Auctions. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Cuckler began collecting flint artifacts during a time when several old collections were being offered. There are many familiar old collector names in the artifact histories, names such as John Delime, C.C. Meredith, Ray Vietzen, Bob Edler. Cuckler’s dovetail frame was assembled from some of the finest collections and remained intact for over two decades. Those dovetails, including Nussbaum’s centerpiece dovetail and Delime’s fine Posey County dove, will be offered in this auction.
The highlight of the Cuckler auction is “The Vermont Birdstone” (above). A porphyry masterpiece, Earl Townsend referred to it as “the finest of all porphyry fantails.” Beautifully patterned material, superb design and condition, along with stellar collector history make it one of the finest birdstones to be offered at public auction in years. It is prominently pictured in numerous publications, including a color plate in Birdstones of the North American Indian (Townsend, 1953).
His growing interest in bannerstones and axes brought him into contact with Bruce Filbrandt (author of Keokuk Axes), Tommy Beutell, Maury Meadows, Floyd Goddard and many other well-known collectors. Several fine axes originally in the Filbrandt collection grace this sale, many being pictured in prominent publications.
Cuckler developed a fascination for bannerstones and other hardstone artifacts. A beautiful quartz winged butterfly bannerstone highlights this auction. Well documented, its perfection and color make it a premier bannerstone for any collection. Judge Payne’s porphyry crescent bannerstone will also be offered. It is one of several bannerstones being sold that were documented in Byron Knoblock’s Bannerstones of the North American Indian (1937).
One of the finest slate winged bannerstones ever found (Barry Goodwin’s wing; below) is in this sale. Its vivid banding and sleek design make it recognizable some 25 years after it graced the cover of Goodwin’s sale catalog.
The Cuckler collection is sprinkled with rare and unique artifacts. Contained within it is Bob Jenkins’ cache (flint effigy and pipe), Gray LaDassor’s porphyry cahokia discoidal (pictured in St. Louis Prehistoric Art), large blades including Walter Nelson’s Duck River sword and much more.
Prehistoric artifact collections of this caliber don’t come around often. The Cuckler collection of prehistoric art offers a variety of fine and documented pieces. After two and a half decades of enjoyment, Cuckler is pleased to be passing these artifacts back to the prehistoric artifact collecting community.
The auction will be conducted on Saturday, Feb. 22, at Maxim Events, 420 Eastern Ave. in Shelbyville, Ind., starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time. For details contact Tony Putty Artifacts at 317-509-0860.