Eskimo soapstone carvings and reed basket with soapstone handle

May 11, 2021. 18:58 UTC
Eskimo soapstone carvings and reed basket with soapstone handle

Antiques & curio

Acquired from

For sale

These are several pieces - made of soapstone, and a woven reed basket. They all were made in Great Whale River, Quebec, Canada, in 1963-1964. They were all made specifically for our family and I have a photo to show provenance on the basket. The soapstone came from the Belcher Islands in the Hudson Bay. On the base of the kayak, there is an E-9 number which identifies the carver. The kayak is 13.5" long; the two figures are 4.5" high; the basket is 4.25" diameter and 3.75" high. The goose and seal float on the kayak are both removeable and held on by a wooden peg. The whale is a unique piece as the tail is positioned the wrong way (like a fish, rather than a whale). It is 9.5" long, the tail is 6.25" high, and there is no artist information on the bottom. I found the kayak artist on the internet as a Johnassie Mannuk, whose E-9 number matches. It shows his location as the Belcher Islands / Sanikiluaq (modern day name for Great Whale River), so I feel confident this is his work.


The kayak was made for my father by an Eskimo carver and so I inherited it. The basket and other pieces were made for me by other carvers in the community. I have a photo of the woman who made the basket, when she gave it to my mother for me. We lived in Great Whale River from November 1962 to April 1964, so all items were made during that time period.

Answered within about 17 hours
May 12, 11:56 UTC
By Delia

Fair Market Value

$550 - $850 USD

Insurance Value

$1,400 USD
What does this mean?

Hi Wendy,

Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry.
Based on the photos and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:

An assembled group of Indigenous Northwest North American ./ Inuit articles
Made in Great Whale River, Quebec, Canada, 1963-1964
A woven beach grass and reed covered basket with soapstone bird lid handle ($100-150)
A carved soapstone kayak and seated figure, the kayak made by Johnassie Mannuk and numbered E-9, with detachable seal and goose floats ($200-300)
Two figures ($50-75)
Two small edged objects ($50-75)
A carved soapstone whale, unattributed maker ($150-250)
Basket 3 3/4 inches high, 4 1/2 inches diameter
Kayak 13 1/2 inches long
Two figures each 4 1/2 inches high
Whale 6 1/4 inches high, 9 1/2 inches long
PROVENANCE: acquired by the client's family
$550-850 for the group*
*represents a fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.

Please let us know if you have additional items to appraise, and thank you again for using Mearto.

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