Sunday, June 11, 2017

6/12/17 Report - Seminole Silver and Some Good References.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tuko-See-Mathla, Seminole Chief
Source: Sotheby's Auction Catalog
See link below.
Sotheby's June 13 book and manuscript auction offers a number of interesting lots.  One is the book,
HISTORY OF THE INDIAN TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA, written by Thomas McKenney and James Hall, published in 1865.

The above illustration of a Seminole chief is one of many illustrations found in that book.

Here is the link for the auction listing.

Notice what appears to be a variety of silver pieces being worn by the chief. They include a gorget, pendant, wrist bands, arm bands and head band.

I do not see this fellow wearing finger rings or earrings, although both of those might be expected.

Here is a good reference on the Seminoles and their personal items of adornment.

That link takes you to one chapter of a free Project Gutenberg ebook entitled The Seminole Indians of Florida, by Clay MacCauley, 2006.

It seems they preferred silver over gold.  I wondered where they got their silver.  Author MacCauley claims that the silver was generally made from U.S silver coins.

That ebook is worth reading.

And here is the link to the Sotheby's auction that includes the book on North American Indian tribes as well as many other interesting lots.

I started wondering about all the old silver rings and things found on the Treasure Coast beaches that don't seem to be from the 1715 Fleet.  I've commented on that before.  I decided I better learn to recognize Seminole jewelry.

It isn't very easy to find pieces of genuine Seminole silver.  Most Native American jewelry that you find when you do an internet search are modern facsimilies or reproductions.  I did however find one interesting site that shows a few pieces of Seminole silver jewelry.  It is the National Museum of the American Indian Collections Site.  The fact that the items identified as Seminole on that site were all purchased from one collector does not give me a huge amount of confidence in the attributions, but it is probably trustworthy.

Below is one item on collections site listed as Miccosukee.

 Did you know the Seminoles were Nazis?  Just kidding!

Below is the description as it appears.

Culture/People: Miccosukee Seminole (Mikasuki)

Object name: Brooch

Date created: 1900-1930

Place: Florida; USA

Media/Materials: Silver

TechniquesHammered, cutout

You can see other silver Seminole jewelry items on the same site.

Here is one identified as a Miccosukee finger ring.

Silver Miccosukee Finger Ring
People occasionally report Seminole Indian finds. One nice silver headdress piece was found near the site of the old Fort Pierce Fort.

Unfortunately the detectorist stuck his digger through it.  You have to be careful when digging.

It can always be helpful to be able to identify metal items that you dig. This is one class of items that might be found on the Treasure Coast.

It can also be good to go back and reevaluate old finds that you couldn't identify or that might have been wrongly identified.  That is another good reason to keep good records.

You might find more interesting information and useful books or historic documents in the Sotheby's auction listings.  Pictures from old books can be helpful.

I want to learn more about silver Seminole finds and hope to have more to post on that in the future.

This post took a direction that I was not expecting.  I'll leave it at that for today.

Beach conditions remain poor for finding old shipwreck cobs on the Treasure Coast.  That has been the case so often for so long that I haven't been posting a conditions rating lately.  With hurricane season, that might change.  Stay alert for new storms forming in the Atlantic or Gulf.

Happy hunting,