18th/Early 19th Century Pipe Tomahawk
Attributed to Lehigh or Bucks Co. Riflemaker
This rare American made pipe tomahawk was purchased a number of years ago from the estate of an early "aboriginal" private collection in London. While no further provenance came with it, this axe was undoubtedly made in America and came to England as a war trophy where it resided in a collection of "native" artifacts from throughout the empire. It appears an early prototype of the type of pipe tomahawk made in the Allentown, Lehigh, or Bucks County area. The attributed John Young pipe axe in Bill Guthman's collection which sold at his Bonham's sale of October 12, 2006, lot 25 is a later variation of this axe. I believe this axe was a Pennsylvania riflesmith's effort at copying the French brass and steel pipe tomahawks of the French and Indian War period. Similarities to the Young attributed axe include the unique brass mouthpiece, cast brass head with a dovetailed steel blade-insert as well as border engraving. The brass head is cast, but the bowl, neck, and round pediment are hand fabricated from cast and hammered sheet brass, similar to the patchbox on the famous "Walking Purchase" Edward Marshall rifle. Like the Young attributed axe from the Guthman collection, all the brass furniture on this axe has border engraving. The original (oval in cross-section) haft is made of strongly figured tiger maple with a old heavily patinated "violin" type finish found on Lehigh and Bucks Co. rifles. The brass is mustard color with much depth and many usage nicks. The steel dovetailed blade has a deep multi-layered original surface. The haft measures 19 3/8 to the tip of the mouthpiece and the head measures 7 1/8" with the blade edge measuring 2 3/4".
Condition: Excellent as found. Worn mustard colored brass, deep multilayered steel blade. Original tiger maple haft with a deep pleasing old redish golden surface.
- Annonymous Collection, London England