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Old 19th May 2020, 12:29 PM   #1
Gregory128
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Default Unusual Money Polearm

Hi all,
Can I introduce myself as Greg and say thanks to the admins for allowing me to join this forum. I have recently purchased this unusual item and need help with its identification. I have had several conflicting suggestions, so any hard evidence to back up your theories would be extremely helpful.

The item I would like to present, is a very unusual money stick/polearm. The coins and tokens stuck to the haft can be dated to the second half of the 19th Century. They are an eclectic mix of coins from different nationalities so they aren't much help in narrowing this items location. I believe the item may be African in origin, but I concede its merely a gut feeling. The wooden pole is protected by a tin or copper outer covering, on which one will find a number of coins/tokens and buckler shaped pieces attached. The wood is not ebony but is white. I'm not sure if this its natural colour or if its been treated. Overall, the item measures around 5ft 6inches. The head is blunt and looks like it was only created for ceremonial use, nevertheless it has a unusual design.

Other then the above, I'm lost to its purpose or origin.
Looking forward to hearing your suggestions,
Kind Regards,
Gregory.
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Old 19th May 2020, 06:41 PM   #2
Rick
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Bump.
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Old 19th May 2020, 10:26 PM   #3
Lee
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I wonder if this is a Venetian boat hook (for retrieving a moored boat from beyond natural arm's reach) that has the added blades to perhaps serve also as a repellent for unwanted visitors. I have an old Venetian boat puller pole with similar coins and tacks and I have also seen a newer example of the same.
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Old 19th May 2020, 10:38 PM   #4
Will M
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The one coin looks like an East India Company penny.
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Old 20th May 2020, 12:44 AM   #5
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Old 20th May 2020, 10:22 AM   #6
fernando
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Brilliant; a gondola "croque". I would never guess .
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Old 20th May 2020, 11:58 AM   #7
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I saw a 'degenerate' version with a typical modern cast chrome plated hook, red fabric covering and rather unattractive modern aluminum coins for sale in Venice in the 1980s. This prepared me when I saw a 19th century version (picture below) for sale as an unknown "what-is-it?" in an antique shop in Copenhagen years later (for a much cheaper price). I had not seen one with the blades added to the head before and Gregory128's example is clearly the best example I have encountered to date.
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Old 21st May 2020, 03:19 AM   #8
M ELEY
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I have seen gaffing hooks with a sharp "marlin' spike to them, but never a blade! Pretty cool! The pattern resembles a lochober axe! I like it very much!
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Old 22nd May 2020, 01:40 AM   #9
Gregory128
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Thanks for the help guys. Very unusual. I would never have guessed its a 19th century Venetian boat hook? Surprising!
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Old 22nd May 2020, 11:43 AM   #10
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These are described as 'gondola hooks' in The Upper Ten: A Novel of the Snobocracy by William Hosea Ballou (1890), p. 75, courtesy of Google Books.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 12:47 PM   #11
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One of the medals/coins shows the portrait of pope Pius IX (PONT MAX) 1846-1878, so this piece cannot have been in use before 1846.
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