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GROUPING OF INDIAN TRADE RELICS – TRADE GUN PART, SEWING THIMBLE, IRON TRADE RING – SCARCE SURVIVORS OF THE FUR TRADE ERA:  This three piece grouping consists of a brass ramrod thimble from a Northwest Trade Gun, a brass sewing thimble, and an adult size iron finger ring.  This grouping was excavated from a now unknown site in west Texas and was recently acquired from the man who found them decades ago.  Unfortunately he did not keep detailed records of his finds and he has now aged past being able to recall the trails that led him to these relic finds.   

These three pieces were common items packed onto the western frontier by the early fur trappers and the later Comancheros alike to trade with the Native Americans for furs, horses, and the other commodities the plains had to offer.  This grouping consists of: 

1.  A brass ribbed ramrod thimble from the famous Northwest Trade Guns, the smooth bore muskets which featured the iconic serpent side plates.  Full length and while it shows evidence of being buried and misshapen to some degree at one time, it retains its general original form.  The thimble measures 5/16” long and 3/8” in diameter. 

2.  A brass sewing thimble, surprisingly one of the most popular and common items of trade on the frontier.  Apparently these were received with great enthusiasm by the women as an improvement over the pieces of hide that had been used previously to protect the finger tips when sewing.  This is thimble is of the style which slipped down lower on the finger tip, without the enclosed dome of the later style thimbles.  Measuring just over 1/2” long and Ύ” in diameter, the thimble shows evidence of having been buried, but it still retains its full original form.   

3.  This iron finger ring is perhaps the most remarkable piece of the group.  These cheaply made pieces of trade jewelry could not have survived in great numbers due to the light weight ferrous metal being so susceptible to corrosion, and yet this one has survived in amazing full form and in very nice condition.  Certainly showing signs of having been buried, however it is still very strong with no weak points.  The band is generally 1.4” wide and the finger hole is Ύ” in diameter – large enough to comfortably on either of my ring fingers.    

These is a very nice grouping of early relics of the North American Fur Trade of the type that doesn’t survive in great numbers in any but the most advanced collections and seldom show up on the modern collector market.  These would make an excellent addition to display with any number of Native American pieces.   (0104) $125


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