Fri, 28 July 2017
Last Updated: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 5pm
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Feather money sold for $216,963.32

A roll of Santa Cruz feather money was sold for an incredible £22,750 (SBD$216,963.32) at a recent tribal antiquities sale in the United Kingdom.

A UK website,, reported the stunning Santa Cruz feather currency fetched the highest bid during the Tribal Art and Antiquities sale at Woolley and Wallis Salisbury Salerooms on March 1.

The report said the Tribal Art and Antiquities sale included six different collections, attracting bidders from around the world.

The report however, does not state who owns the feather currency roll.

The sale commenced with Egyptian antiquities from the J.D.R.Fryer collection.

One lot of 20 faience amulets saw internet and telephone bidders competing up to the final price of £4,045.

A collection of pre-Columbian Mexican ceramics recently discovered in an attic, acquired by Sir Peter Hope KCMG, a former British Intelligence Officer and later the Ambassador to Mexico 1968–72, saw an increased interest in this particular area of collecting with a charming Colima vessel modelled as a plump dog selling for £1,645.

The next collection consisted of 202 lots from the estate of Seward Kennedy, with all finding buyers.

From Egyptian, Roman, pre-Columbian, African, American and Oceanic, the collection reflected Mr Kennedy's passion and his continuous search for the curious, magnificent and a presence that his discerning eye had captured.

An Egyptian shabti (a small mummified figure taken into the afterlife to carry out manual tasks) from the Late Period, circa 664–332BC, standing 18.6cm high, attracted strong bidding from the £800-1200 estimate, selling for £10,750 (above).

The collection had an interesting selection of tribal currency, formed from bronze, stone, iron, brass, aluminium, glass, semi-precious stones and shells into bangles, torques, knife blades and hoes sold to collectors and interior designers.

African headrests remain popular with prices ranging from £200 to £2,020 for a South African example from the Tsonga people and a Sotho people snuff container with strong linear carving selling for £885.

The David Morris collection had been formed from the late 1960s up until 2006, sourced from London auctions and trade and latterly in Paris and Brussels, with a strong West African feel and again with all lots finding buyers.

Two particular highlights were the Bambara mule head marionettes from Mali selling for £1075 and £1,645.

More African masks and figures were present in the Pendarell Kent collection, including a Mossi headdress from Burkino Faso, surmounted with a carved antelope and decorated in contrasting black and white pigment selling for £2,530.

A Chokwe chair from Angola, carved with figures, birds and bats sold for £4,800 (above).

The last of the single owner collections saw a large Yoruba maternity figure, carved in wood with a standing female with an infant on the back selling for £2,780.

The remainder of the sale included a strong Oceanic section with a good array of clubs, shields and everyday artefacts.

The highlight was a stunning feather currency roll from Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, illustrated on the cover of the catalogue, with two determined telephone bidders battling to a magnificent price of £22,750.

A rare Samoan/Tongan pole club sold for £9,100, an unusual club from Vanuatu sold for £3,540 and a superb Austral Islands paddle with all-over carving and with eight dancing girls to the top sold for £9,500.

An Aboriginal shield of slim form used for parrying and decorated with wavy lines, representing the landscape known to the owner, sold to an Australian collector for £7,330.

Maori pieces remained in good demand with wood and stone clubs and staffs all selling well.

·       Source:

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