Origin: Northeast US
Date: Circa 1650 – 1700
Media: Quahog shell
Dimensions: 6.75″ long, 2.38″ tall
Description: It’s very rare to find original wampum of the period in any sort of arrangement. This piece is the correct size for a wrist cuff but it may also be a remnant for a larger sash or belt. The design of diagonal rows (5 purple and 4 white) is an early design arrangement – it’s simple and bold. The piece is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. There are two inventory marks, one on each side, and they read: 9/35. These can both be seen in the detailed photos.
Provenance: I acquired this from Skip Holbrook of Santa Fe, NM in 2015. He acquired it from Larry Frank. Larry Frank acquired it from Herman Vondank. The receipt from Skip Holbrook with certain parts blocked out is shown below in the photos.
There is a letter from Herman Vondank to Larry Frank describing his find. A photo of this is also included. It reads as such:
Wampum belt fragment I bought in London. The item was in my opinion made before 1700, around 1650 period. The belts had bin made to affirm a treaty. Eastern Indians make the wampum. Signed, May 3, 1983 Hand made hemp
Condition: The wampum shows aged wear consistent with the period.