Thomson Roddick Callan

African, Tribal & Oceanic Art

Here at the African, Tribal and Oceanic Art department we are busy researching and cataloguing for our upcoming auctions, providing insurance and other types of valuations for collections throughout Scotland and the north of England and assisting clients with identifying unknown items held in their own personal collections.

If you have a collection or item of African, Tribal or Oceanic art that you wish to learn more about, have identified and valued or professionally catalogued and presented for auction then contact our specialist to receive free no obligation professional advice.

The African and tribal auctions are held four to six times a year at our Edinburgh auction room and broadcast worldwide online to an international market. The department record for a single item is the £24,000 realised in January 2010 for a pole club from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Other interesting items to have featured in these auctions include:

£600 in February 2012 for a Coco De Mer. 
Translating from the French directly as 'Coconut of the Sea' these risqué looking items are in fact a nut from a female palm tree indigenous to the Seychelles (fascinatingly, the male palm catkin being of phallic shape providing the legend of the tree that makes 'passionate love'). Before the Seychelles were populated, these hollow nuts would wash up on the shores of Africa, giving them their name. Somewhat surprisingly we have offered many of these for auction in recent years with examples being cut and formed into baskets, trophies and even deskstands.

£600 in March 2019 for a Fijian Ula Tavatava throwing club, another realised £480 in November 2019 and another £380 in November 2018, another £240 in January 2015 also another £150 in June 2014.
Again it is surprising how many of these war clubs have gone through the auctions in recent years with prices achieved seemingly on the rise. These very distinctive looking destructive clubs are particularly sought after by collectors. They are easily identifiable with their often pumpkin-shaped swollen heads. 

More than £24,000 was achieved in January 2015 for the collection of African, Tribal and Oceanic masks, figures and weapons of the late Dr Peter Sharratt.
The top lot from the collection was a small carved figure from Papua New Guinea which realised £980, the next highest was £920 for a violent looking 'nail club'. Many of the masks and figures realised between £100-500 each, it really was a fascinating collection, one that took a lifetime to amass. Our specialists have skills in other areas too, from the same vendor, our tribal specialist unearthed two rare 17th century books that fetched £5,400 and £3,700, they were hidden in a plastic carrier bag at the bottom of a bookcase.

You may have heard of Thomson Roddick from advertisements in publications including Antiques Trade Gazette, The Scotsman or Scottish Field. If you are social media inclined, and don’t follow us yet, then we are on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: you can find our social media icons at the top of our website and start following us. Perhaps you have seen a member of our team on tv recently? We feature regularly on Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip, Dickinson’s Real Deal, Cash in the Attic and the much missed Flog It, or you may have met one of our valuers presenting a talk on antiques to your local group.

We like jargon, if you do too, then here are some related jargon and terms that you may find in one of our African, Tribal & Oceanic auction catalogues:
Mask   Axe   Club   Ula   Ashanti   Dogon   Maasai   Zulu   Songye   Baka   Punu   Fang   Gabon   Chamba   Luba   Baule   Benin   Neck Rest   Drum   Textiles   Woomera   Gourds   Combs   Shields   Weapons   Vessels   Artefacts    Carvings    Statues    Power Ritual     

The department is run from our Edinburgh office and we are always happy to conduct free no-obligation valuations, whether in person at the auction room, over email, or in the comfort of your own home. Contact us on telephone on 0131 440 2448 (Edinburgh) or by email