So we’ve established my husband is a collector of
vast piles of junk, boatloads of crap, too much rusty old stuff, some eclectic treasure.
Lots of people know this, and think being an antique expert goes hand in hand.
They constantly give him items and want a full history, description of use, plus what it’s worth.
Problem is….. more often than not he has no frickin’ clue.
Which is when he hands it off to me.
I research, investigate, and compare so he can go back and look knowledgeable. Which leads to more people giving him more items to identify. It’s a vicious circle.
*Note to self – stop researching, investigating and comparing*
Last month he came home with two items that were beyond even my scope of reference.
Supposed Native American artifacts.
A medicine man’s turtle shell rattle…
And a warrior’s breastplate.
I admit, even I was clueless here.
His friend gave him some accompanying paperwork that was, to say the least….. a wee bit strange. It was a statement from a man named Silver Wolf who said he saw the items at an antique show 10 years ago and was then visited in his dreams by the original owner Red Hawk, who lived in the late 1700’s.
A man named Ernie then purchased the rattle, and took it to a Pow Wow to “awaken it”. A red tail hawk flew overhead during the ceremony and apparently that was the spirit of the original owner.
Later, a chief said the rattle had a person named Many Eyes bound inside of it and the spirit needed to be set free.
How the hell do you research that?
I tried. And the closest I came was this:
Pretty damn close. (Red tailed hawk and trapped spirit not withstanding.)
As for breastplates? They’re everywhere… in hundreds of designs, made with multiple materials, some old, some new and I have no utter clue how to differentiate.
So I went to the Maine State Museum….
Where no one had a clue either.
But they gave me the name and email address of a supposed expert…. so I contacted her and sent photos.
This was her response:
Boy. I’m not the expert, At All. The breast plate looks modern to me, but don’t take my word for it! And I have never seen a rattle like that so I really can’t judge. It could be Plains, but equally, could be new. It looks dirty, as opposed to worn, which sets off alarms for me.
That said, I am NOT that versed. If you want to talk to someone who is, my ex-husband is very knowledgable.
Best of luck in your search!
And thank you for thinking of the Maine State Museum.
So after wasting more time than I thought possible on this, I was done.
I passed along what I learned to the husband to give to his friend, with the expert’s ex husband’s phone number, and called it a day.
The next morning after having breakfast with his friend? The husband came back with the items and said his friend wanted me to sell them for him.
Personally… if the items are real Native American artifacts? I’d give them back to the tribe of origin, or at the very least a museum. So much Native culture has been bought and sold over the years, I felt bad even having them at our house.
And if they’re reproductions? You wouldn’t get any serious money for them so why bother.
This is what happens when your husband can’t tell his friend no.
It’s a simple process…. and one I need him to learn.