AFRICA: Metallic

AFRICA Non-metal





BACKGROUND   As a dealer in world coins and ethnographic monies I am often able to purchase interesting antiquities of various sorts. I am not a specialist in any of these fields, so descriptions will often be limited.

ILLUSTRATIONS:   Click on the thumbnail to see a larger scan. Please forgive the scanner pasteup lines! Size of scan is not related to size of actual object; look in the description for sizes. Sometimes the scan is not of the actual piece being offered, but a general illustration representing multiple specimens in stock. This is usually indicated in the description, but please ask if you are unsure.


Scans have usually been brightened to show details.

Tuareg Earrings   Heavy earrings of traditional style. Once made of silver, these appear to be nickel. Weigh 85gm. No significant wear. Available: a, b    2172) Each: Pair: $50.00

Kuba Arrows   CONGO Iron hunting arrows, mostly leaf-shaped, 4-7", please give second choice of specimen!    2130) Each: $15.00;    2131 Barbed arrows, or harpoons., your choice, each $22.50

Ethiopian Prayer Beads   Hollow, silver-plated beads (66-68) with endpiece and colorful yarn tassles, total length 21". Crude, wearable. Age uncertain.   2167) $11.50

Coptic Crosses   Ethiopia. Looped white-metal crosses in a wide variety of styles. Silver versions were used in earlier days but are rare now. I can not supply the exact pieces shown in the scan, but if you advise a general preference such as plainer cross, fancy, or largest, I will try.    Large: 2503) About 65-95mm tall: $9.50 Each; $40 / 5 different; $65 / 10 mixed.     Medium: 2501) Mostly 40-50mm: $6.50 Each; $25 / 5 different; $42.50 / 10 mixed.   Inquire for larger quantities.

Spirit Snake   Lobi of Ivory Coast & Nigeria. Tall iron snake form, object of worship & protective amulet. This piece a tall 49.5 inches; just top and bottom shown in scan. Pictured & described in Fer Noir by Andre Blandin, p.119-121.   315) $100

Spear Tip   NIGERIA Iron spear tips.. I would guess they are functional weapons rather than a prestige or money item. Lengths: 2121 19.5"; 2122 17.5"; 2123 15"; 2125 17"   2121, etc) Each: $40

Igbo Snuff Botles, Small   NIGERIA Brass, leather, and cork, probably modern but showing some use. 4.5-5" tall,", all similar to examples shown   3027) Each: $19.50


Ethiopia Cowrie Milk Jug   Sturdy containers apparently of woven grass or fabric around a (wood?) core sealed inside with pitch. Complex leather strapping decorated with cowries provides a carrying or hanging loop, and keeps the stopper from falling away. I don't know if they will still hold liquid, and they could use some cleaning and leather care. Minor imperfections such as broken threads. Probably c.1920's or earlier. A decorative container for keys, loose change, etc.   3010a) 18" tall $75;   3010b) 12.5" tall $55;   3010c) 14.5" tall $50;   3010d) 15.5" tall $65

Ethiopia Painted Drum   Functional drums with a terracotta base covered in animal hide. Probably c.1920's or earlier, but the custom now is to have the tops painted and use them as decorative objects. Painting is new, and sometimes signed. Typically 8" across and 4" tall. Specimens available:    3015b ;   3015c    Each: $65

Mauritania Necklace   Complex, wearable necklace with simple bead clasp, using old trade beads, some newer beads, shells, spindle-worls, metal objects, etc. Worn by men today. Scan shows both sides. Necklaces available:   707c 24 oz.; 707d 18 oz.; 707e 18 oz.; 707f 23 oz.; 707g 23 oz.; 707h 20 oz.; 707k 17 oz    707) Each: $92.50

Amber Beads   Natural tree amber from Gambia, roughly shaped into beads of 12-18m and holed with a hot poker. Old amber (and imitation) beads were important trade items in Africa; these appear new, but given the cost of old beads, these are good representations.   641s Set of 3 diff size beads plus piece of broken bead $3;    XG641a) 12" doubled strand of 65-70 beads 35.00   XG641a) Longer 18" doubled, better value 45.00
Spindle Whorls   From Nigeria, age unknown but not modern. Blackened terracotta bead-like weights used to spin raw fibres into thread. Like coins, arrows, and diety figures, a common type of artefact found across cultures. These run 40-50m across with a variety of shapes.   2500a) Plain shapes (samples shown) $9;       2500b) Etched designs (samples shown) $12   Discount: Less 10% for 3, Less 20% for 6 or more, mixed categories OK   2500n) String of 33 pieces, just as shown $200 (other strings available)   2502) From Mali, very similar but smaller: 30-35mm or some 25mm with more design $12.50 per lot.   2502d) Strung group of 37 pieces, varying sizes & quality $85
Faith Necklace   When the Arabs were converting Saharan Africa to Islam, it was prudent to wear something showing you were already of the faith. Later, they were worn on pilgramages to Mecca and called Hajj beads. Necklaces of red carnelian stone with flat, coinlike inscribed beads were popular. These are modern equivalents, probably c. 1800-1850, in red glass, restrung. The smaller beads read Mohammed and the larger Allah Hasbi or similar phrases. Each is different, two samples shown. Strand length 13".  XG680) One-pendant $27.00; Two-pendants $29.00 (Great gfts: Three for $69)
Snake vertebrae   Real snake bones, strung. Used for divination throughout Africa, these probably from Nigeria. Strand length 22+", range of bone widths noted:   1665Ma) Graduated strand 8.7-12.3mm bones $45;   1667Ma) Uniform strand 8.5-9.5mm bones $40;   1669a) Undyed strand 12-15.5mm bones $70;   1667Z) Dealer Lot Find yourself propitiating the spirits on a regular basis? You might be going through a lot of bones. This hank of twenty 23" strands, all decent sized 12-16mm widths, may work for you. Most strands fairly uniform widths, a few look like a "natural" snake. Per lot of 5 strands: $145


Pi (Jade disk)   "Heaven was represented by the ancients in the tangible form of a perforated disk of jade. It was believed that such a token embodied the qualities of solar effulgence, and was closely connected with the powers of Heaven by means of its magical properties, and therefore the Emperor, being the Son of Heaven, was able to commune and consult with Heaven through the medium o the jade disc." (C.A.S. Williams Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives p.235. Old disks typically date from Chou to Han and are not uncommon. Ramsden, in Chinese Early Barter and Uninscribed Money discusses them as badges of rank,proof of diplomatic authority, and possibly the origin of square-holed coins. Offered here are MODERN pieces in black agate, 45mm (1.75") wide, crowded with small marine(?) fossils. No two are alike.    ZZ1327) Each: $5, or $39 for 10
Javanese Iron Amulets    Formerly misidentified as money items, these are individually hand-made, acid-etched iron amulets, ca. 1950-1980s, from Surabaya, East Java. Joseph Cribb, in Magic Coins of Java, Bali and the Malay Peninsula, pp.68-69, tells how an enterprising man created the hybrid Hindu/Islamic designs, successfully promoted them as powerful amulets, and built a family business around their manufacture. Most are roughly rounded with crude pseudo-Arabic script, thumbprint designs, and (on larger sizes) dragons. Round, coinlike versions also exist (not in stock).   171a) Smallest, 5-11gm, rounded or triangular $7.50; 171b) 5-11 gm, rough iron "chips" 7.50; 171c) About 15 gm 9.50; 171e) About 35-45 gm 14.50; 171f) 55-65 gm 19.50; 171g) 80-85 gm 27.50; 171h) 90-115 gm $36.50;   171s) Set of 10 pieces selected for variety in size, shape, and inscription (includes all sizes with duplicates of a/b, and c, plus large 130-150gm "j" size) $145.00

Javanese Brass Amulets   Brass amulets bearing Koranic verses, various sizes & shapes, from the same workshop as above:   173a) Oval cabochon shape, 12m, O: "Allah" & design, R: "Hafiz es Salaam Md." $7.50; 173c) Oval cabochon shape, 18m, O: "Allah" & design, R: (illiterate engraving) 10.00; 173e) Six-faceted cylinder, 25-28m, "Bismillah arahmon al-arahim" (We have brought you a clear victory) 16.50; 173s) Set of 3 above, 29.50

Indonesia Kris Amulet   Brass amulet with illegible Arabic inscription, in the shape of the famous Kris, monetary and status weapon. Most 50-70m long. 173k)   $3.00

Modern Kris Ring   The ceremonial kris sword had a relatively plain iron blade, but a very fancy, bejewelled handle including one or more rings. These are modern versions with plastic jewels. They may fit an adult pinky, or child's finger. Samples shown. 1510)   $4.00