Slate Saddle Birdstone with Pop Eyes and Fantail, From the Collection of Jan Sorgenfrei

Glacial Kame Culture / Late Archaic Period, 4000-1500 B.C.
Sandusky County, Ohio
4-7/8 in.

Saddle birdstones with button-shaped, or "pop-eyes" are not common, and this example is especially rare due to its large size, condition and form.  The material chosen is a dark slate having few contrasting bands. This choice resulted in the birdstone having a powerful, sculptural quality, uninterrupted by distracting banding.  The long slender head with a gently curving underside, gracefully rises to its round eyes, with a so-called teardrop or weeping eye ridge leading the way.  Due to the wide fantail not having significant elevation, the overall profile of this birdstone is quite special. 

This birdstone has a long, and distinguished collection history.  After its discovery two miles west of Woodville in Sandusky County, Ohio, it was acquired by the early 20th century collector A.E. Domoney of Columbus, Ohio. From Domoney it passed in succession through the legendary collections of Dr. Leon Kramer, Dr. T. Hugh Young, Clemens Caldwell, and Lynn Brooks, before being acquired by Jan Sorgenfrei.

Collecting History:
A.E. Domoney, Columbus, OH
Dr. Leon Kramer, Columbus, OH
Dr. T. Hugh Young, Nashville, TN (cat. no. 400)
Clemens Caldwell, Danville, KY (cat. No. Bi:45)
Lynn Brooks, Auburn, IN
Jan Sorgenfrei, Findlay, OH

Ohio Indian Relic Collectors’ Society, Bulletin No. 26, 1951, pg. 30.
Ohio Archaeologist, Vol. 4, No. 4, 1954, pg. 27.
Birdstones of the North American Indian, Townsend, Earl C., 1959, pg. 599-C.
Prehistoric Art, (GIRS Birdstone Issue), Vol. 17, No. 4 and Vol. 18, No. 1, 1982/1983, pg. 31.
Prehistoric American, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2009, (Birdstone Special Issue), pg. 43.
Legends of Prehistoric Art, Vol. 2, Onken, 2011, pg. 538.

Provenance:Ex A.E. Domoney, Columbus, OH; Ex Dr. Leon Kramer, Columbus, OH; Ex Dr. T. Hugh Young, Nashville, TN; Ex Clemens Caldwell, Danville, KY; Ex Lynn Brooks, Auburn, IN; From the Collection of Jan Sorgenfrei, Ohio


The right eye with several worn flakes around the perimeter, the neck with two nicks, probably from agricultural machinery, none of which detract.

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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