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Wooden box [.1] with lid [.2] containing 56 wooden sticks [.3- .58] painted with various red and black designs for use in gambling games. [CAK 09/06/2009]

Longer Description

Wooden box [.1] with lid [.2] containing 56 wooden sticks [.3- .58] painted with various red and black designs for use in gambling games. The box has been industrially manufactured from thin pieces of wood. The corners have been made by kerfing and bending the wood, with the fourth corner comprised of tightly fitted notches. Some sections of the box have also been glued together. It is unclear whether the box was ever the original container for the gambling sticks. Each stick has been carved from a single piece of wood (perhaps yew?), to the roughly the same length. The ends are slightly rounded, and the sticks themselves are very smooth. Patterns of red and/or black lines and rings decorate the sticks. One stick is undecorated, and one is coloured black on one side. [CAK 09/06/2009]

Primary Documentation

Accession book entry: 'From Rev. Ch. Harrison, 80 Halton Rd, Canonbury Sq. N. Collection of Haida objects collected by him.... - Set of 56 short sticks for a game of chance. £45. [Purchase price includes 1891.49.1-110]

No additional information on catalogue cards. [JC 4 9 1996]


Handwritten note in box reads: Smiths Rep. 1888 pl. 63. [NM 21 2 1997]

Written on object box - GAMBLING STICKS N.W.A. HARRISON COLLN. 1891. [in pencil] Crab[?crate] found at North Island Q C Island [MJD 01/04/2009]

Stamped on object - There is a red stamp on the base of the box, the letters are illegible. Based on two red stamps on the box (one inside the lid, one one the base), they appear to read - [illegible] 1870 Dec 8th, 1874 H WESLEY HUTCHINS LEWISTON, ME[?]" [KJ 21/04/2009]

Related Documents File - The Haida Project Related Documents File contains video of research sessions and interviews with Haida delegates from September 2009 as part of the project ‘Haida Material Culture in British Museums: Generating New Forms of Knowledge'. It also includes post-visit communications that discuss object provenance. For extensive photographic, video, and textual records documenting the Haida research visit as a whole, including but not limited to preparations of objects for handling, travel logistics, British Museum participation, transcribed notes from research sessions and associated public events held at PRM, see the Haida Project Digital Archive, stored with the Accessions Registers. Original hand-written notes taken during research sessions have been accessioned into the Manuscripts collection, in addition to select other materials. [CAK 02/06/2010]

Research Notes

According to one website, "The Grand Trunk Railway in New England" (, there was an H. Wesley Hutchins Co. box manufacturing company that appears to be located in Lewiston neighbouring Auburn, Maine (ie, ME). [CAK 09/06/2009]

The following information comes from Haida delegates who worked with the museum's collection in September 2009 as part of the project “Haida Material Culture in British Museums: Generating New Forms of Knowledge”:
This set of sticks was viewed alongside other gambling sets on Monday Sept 14, 2009. Christian White identified the sticks' material as yew wood. Delegates observed that some of the sticks have patterns burned onto them. While most people thought they were gambling sticks, some people suggested they could be counting sticks. Delegates noted that the sticks were not from a single set, but rather they were probably collected over time and added to by the owner. Nika Collison identified distinct sticks and groups of sticks within the set: there were three with a concave tip, one of which was blank; one blank stick with three dots on the end; four short wide sticks; one fatter stick without a cone shaped end; and one longer stick without a cone shaped end. Nika and Billy Yovanovich noted that some of the sticks had subtle marks on the ends, which they posited were done by the owner to act as cheating aids. [CAK 11/05/2010]

Item History

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