Captain Lewis' pipe tomahawk sells for undisclosed sum

The pipe tomahawk carried by Captain Lewis during his exploration of the American West (the Lewis & Clark Expedition) has sold for an undisclosed sum at Cowan's.

The artefact was sold privately on May 6 at the company's headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

pipe tomahawk Lewis
Lewis led an early expedition to the American West

The auction house comments: "The Lewis tomahawk is one of a handful of items that can be reliably identified as belonging to a member of the Corps of Discovery. 

"Besides a rifle belonging to co-expedition leader Captain William Clark, it is the only weapon that has survived.  Historical documentation indicates that the tomahawk was with Lewis when he died in Tennessee in September 1809 at the age of 35."

The weapon incorporates a pipe, allowing it to function both as a tool of peace and war (Native Americans often sealed agreements by smoking tobacco together).

It would have played a key role in diplomatic negotiations with the tribes along the route of the expedition.

Wes Cowan, president of the auction house, commented: "The price paid for the pipe tomahawk is commensurate with its historical rarity, and importance�Ǫ

"The family is delighted that it has found a home with someone who recognizes the great responsibility that comes with owning such a national treasure. The Lewis tomahawk is quite simply an icon of American history."

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