A fine silver-mounted pipe tomahawk
Lot 2062
A fine silver-mounted pipe tomahawk
Sold for US$ 46,800 inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine silver-mounted pipe tomahawk
The Crabtree tomahawk, late 18th/early 19th century
The steel head of one piece with teardrop shaped eye, the pipe bowl of somewhat slender form tapering to the turned rim. One side inlaid in German silver with a crescent moon and sun-in-splendor; the reverse inlaid in copper with a naive design incorporating a tree form, a rain cloud with the initials O + C, and with a series of enigmatic forms below. Retaining the original hickory (?) haft mounted with a silver cap and wide silver bands below the head and at the base. The bands decorated with rows of punched dots and circles, the upper band crudely incised with a sun-in-splendor. One side of haft with incised with a simple plant form. Together with photocopy of a 24 page article on Agreen Crabtree from The American Neptune, A Quarterly Journal of Maritime History, January 1982.
Condition: Head with dark patina showing some pitting. Haft and silver mounts with minor marks, the smoking stem missing.
See Illustration


  • Note: With letter from the owner detailing his direct descent from Agreen Crabtree and that the tomahawk has been in the possession of the Crabtree family of Hancock, Maine since the early 19th century. Agreen Crabtree moved to what is now Hancock, Maine in 1760, founding a lumber and shipping business and building a stone fort. When the Revolutionary War broke out he outfitted the 25 ton schooner Hannah and Molly as a privateer and enjoyed considerable success against British shipping in the area. His most noteworthy foray was a raid on Liverpool, Nova Scotia where he captured five vessels. During the course of the war he commissioned two other vessels for privateering and became known as the Scourge of Nova Scotia. In all it appears he captured nearly some 20 British vessels. While there is no family history connecting the tomahawk to a particular family member, it was given a prominent place on the family mantle since the 19th century so one can assume that it was associated at one time with an important member of the family.
    See No. 139 in American Indian Tomahawks by Harold Peterson for an example in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian with nearly identical architecture and with copper inlay of similarly naive form which also features a cloud form with the initials O C, as well as the date 1829. Mr. Peterson notes that, despite the date, the tomahawk exhibits many characteristics of 18th century examples.