IN this column a fortnight ago, I told of the small collection of South Pacific tribal items that we were selling, and I focussed on a Fijian Vunikau War Club, a dangerous-looking weapon made in the 19th Century out of a heavy rootstock.

Our estimate was up to £400, but it went for £750. In fact, all 12 of the items from the collection, which came from places like Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, did very well, although the star of the show was Lot 139, a Fijian Kinikini Paddle Club.

On Saturday, I drove down to Doncaster to meet the purchaser midway between his home in Cambridge. This avoided the worrying possible outcome of sending the piece by courier – afterall, the hammer price with buyer’s premium came to £3,500.

The gentleman was very pleased to see the Fijian Kinikini Paddle Club and relieved that in the flesh it lived up to the images and the condition report we had supplied to him.

In fact, he was so pleased that rather than a quick handover and goodbye, we chatted for at least half an hour about the paddle club.

Kinikinis are large, flat, fan-shaped clubs, with intricate carvings on them. He told me about the subtle differences in the carvings – which some people consider primitive – and how they make sometimes thousands of pounds worth of difference to the price.

Because Kinikinis were so large and intricate, they weren’t usually used in battle. They belonged instead to high status individuals, like chiefs and priests, for ceremonial use.

This knowledge is hugely important for an auctioneer, although the purchaser did warn me not to read up too much about the tribal wars as they were sinister beyond belief!

We don’t have any Fijian war clubs in our next sale on Tuesday, but there is an interesting selection. Viewing is on the Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 1pm, and Monday 9am till 4pm.

Peter Robinson,