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    Description

    Very Rare, Only Example Noted, Ersatz 'John Brown Pike' Made for the Booming Souvenir Trade in Items Associated with Brown's Raid with Period Provenance. With a total production of 954 pikes at Collinsville, Ct., many were shipped to Chambersburg. Pa. for storage and eventual distribution to anticipated insurrectionists, with another group shipped to the Kennedy Farm in Maryland, close to Harper's Ferry. On October 16 the raiders took a number of the pikes with them to Harpers Ferry, with other raiders moving what remained at the Kennedy Farm to a schoolhouse near Harpers Ferry on the Maryland side. Subsequent to the raid 483 pikes and 175 broken handles were seized at this location, with an unknown number taken at Harpers Ferry and Chambersburg. It is generally believed a number of the captured weapons were destroyed, before the caches were descended upon by souvenir hunters and the limited number of remaining pikes promptly sold/carried away by the crowds that gathered from the areas surrounding both Harpers Ferry and Chambersburg. It appears that within days, at the most, all of these original pikes had been taken. Apparently, as the demand for souvenirs from the raid continued, at least one entrepreneur decided to produce these ersatz pikes for sale to the continuing throngs of souvenir hunters. With the date on this example being October 25, just a week after the raid, it is not surprising that this copy, is less than accurate, with the maker possibly never having even seen one of the original pikes.
    The rather heavy 9" long, 1 1/2" wide blade is fabricated in the form of a spear point, with an oval cross guard, a 1 3/4" long cylindrical iron ferrule, conforming to the configuration of the haft, and 1/2" wide, 10" long riveted side straps. All iron completely untouched with dark smooth patina and just some scattered light surface rust. A 1 1/4" high, 6" long area of the haft bears the following period ink script legend, "Ossawotomie (sic) purchased at the B & O Railroad Station Manufactury (sic) Va. Oct. 25 1859 on my trip from (Baltimore) John C. Schelle". The original wooden haft is 71" long, 1 1/8" diameter and flat on the bottom. Perfect condition with nice untouched patina. A remarkable adjunct to a John Brown/Harpers Ferry collection, bearing mute, but strong, testimony to the unquenchable quest for souvenirs associated with Brown's historic raid.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 622

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