Former Smithsonian Native American bird artifact may fly to $600K

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Dan Ripley presents the second auction of prehistoric North American artifacts from the collection of the late Earl Townsend Jr., on June 23, 2012, at Antique Helper Auctions in Indianapolis, Ind. The first auction from the collection resulted in a butterfly bannerstone selling for $245,000.

Native American Indian artifactThe Smithsonian Bird was discovered prior to 1882 in Vernon County, Wis.

Included in this event will be “The Smithsonian Bird,” a prehistoric porphyry granite birdstone that is considered the finest discovered thus far (estimate $400,000-$600,000).

The Smithsonian Bird was discovered prior to 1882 in Vernon County, Wis. The specimen has been widely published, first pictured in “Stone Art”  by Gerald Fowke, Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report, 1891-92.

Its name is derived from the fact that it was once part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., where Townsend acquired it in 1953, prior to the publication of his landmark book, “Birdstones of the North American Indian.”

For more information about The Townsend Artifact Collection Part II, visit Antique Helper Auctions.

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