People have smoked for millennia, of course. The habit—some would say vice—has been practiced in every culture, and that’s nowhere more apparent than in Bonhams’ coming San Francisco auction of Smoking Collectibles. Featured are pipes from the Otoe people of the Plains regions to the Queen Charlotte Islands, off British Columbia. An Otoe ceremonial calumet, circa 1770—more popularly a peace pipe—carries the top estimate at the June 9th sale of $80,000-$120,000.
Calumets were used for special occasions, not daily smoking. It was the stem that was the key element in these pipes, as it was thought to convey great power. Composed of ash wood, the Otoe pipe’s stem is 31 inches long, and decorated with braided, vegetal-dyed porcupine quills depicting buffalo track and path designs. Other featured offerings include a Great Lakes pipe possibly from the Ojibwa tribe, circa 1760-1780 (est. $20,000-$40,000), a wooden pipe carved in the shape of a frog from the Tingit people of southern Alaska, circa 1820-1860, (est. $25,000-$35,000), and several carved stone pipes from the Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands (est.$3,000-$9,000).
Read more at Bonhams.