KNOBKERRY STUNS SALEROOM AUDIENCE

The definition of ‘knobkerry’ (also spelt ‘knobkerrie or knobkierrie) is an African tribal club used for throwing at or clonking animals (or humans) on the head. The name derives from the Afrikaans word ‘knop’ meaning ball and ‘kierrie’ meaning cane.

knobkerryIn days gone by these were essentially weapons of war typically used by tribes such as the Zulu and the Xhosa. Worryingly they are still used today in some rural parts and in post-apartheid South Africa it is often associated with criminal activity.

It was therefore somewhat a surprise that a fine example turned up amongst the contents of a local property cleared by Richard Winterton Auctioneers.

Knobkerries do occasionally make an appearance at the Auction House, but experts at the auctioneers decided this example was unique in the treatment of the knop which was extensively carved with ‘dog tooth’ devices and in set with bone fittings. Measuring 54cm in length, it certainly could pack a punch as a weapon. Thought to date from the nineteenth century it was put forward for a specialist auction of medals and weapons as lot 112 on Thursday 24th September at the Lichfield Auction Centre. Estimated to fetch a couple of hundred pounds, there were gasps from the audience in the packed saleroom when the price rose beyond £1,000, then £2,000 and ended up at £3,000. The power of an auction has never been so evident.

The next coins, medals and weapons sale is 10th December and entries are currently being invited. Free valuations are held at The Lichfield Auction Centre at Fradley Park every Tuesday from 10am-12midday. Phone 01543 251081 for further information.

Top