FIJIAN Vunikau clubs don’t show up very often in our North of England saleroom. You often wonder how the antiquities of the world end up in faraway places.

We have been asked to sell a small collection of a dozen pieces of South Pacific tribal interest which includes this Vunikau club. Vunikau is the name of the rootstock source of the wood from which the club has been made.

The weapon is long at over one metre and the heavy rootstock end makes it highly dangerous when swung in combat.

In the early 19th Century, while Britain was embarking on its industrial revolution, the Fijian Islands were suffering from tribal wars. Murderous sneak raids on neighbouring towns led to wars between chiefdoms which meant you were never without your club, your weapon. A Fijian man would be lucky to reach old age.

Seafaring Europeans visited Fiji in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Liverpool shipowner William Lockerby advised in 1810: “I would recommend never to go on shore without being armed for though you may be very friendly with those you are trading with, they are always at war among themselves.”

The wood on our Vunikau club is a little dry, and so our estimate is between £200 and £400.

The collection is included in our auction on Tuesday, October 20, with viewing today and tomorrow between 10am and 1pm, and Monday from 9am to 4pm.

Peter Robinson, Thomas Watson Auctioneers, Darlington.