AN ANTIQUES dealer from Arundel paid £19,000 for a rare totem pole at an auction in Dorset, on Thursday (February 14).
Spencer Swaffer, owner of Spencer Swaffer Antiques, in High Street, paid more than three times the pre-sale estimate for the artefact, believed to be one of only a few in existence in the country.
Spencer purchased the totem pole during a bidding war at Dukes Auctioneers’ branch, in Dorset.
Amy Brenan, a spokesperson for Duke’s, said the pole was a “significant” cultural find.
She said that it had only been discovered by chance during a routine valuation at a home in the West Country. An eagle-eyed valuer from Dukes unearthed the pole, which was being used as a coat stand.
Mrs Brenan said: “This example had provenance that could date it back to the beginning of the 20th century when the vendor’s own grandfather travelled extensively in Canada and the USA in the 1920s, where it is likely he acquired it.”
A delighted Spencer said: “The opportunity to buy something of this nature in the UK and even in America is so rare that I just had to seize the chance to own something so magnificent. It is the first totem pole I have ever bought.”
It is believed the Haida Indians, of British Columbia, crafted the poles to commemorate their ancestors.