Mar 21, 2013 - Sale 2308

Sale 2308 - Lot 10

Price Realized: $ 1,560
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Pair of wrought-iron "Middle Passage" slave shackles. Overall length 11-1/2 inches, with the apertures for the wrists approximately 3-1/4 inches each; heavy, but smooth oxidation to the surface from having been in sea water for a considerable time. Africa, circa late 18th to mid-nineteenth century

Additional Details

A pair of shackles of the sort used during the cruel "Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. These, like the majority of "Middle Passage" shackles that one sees today have been recovered from the many wrecks of slave ships found off the coast of Africa. The British, who placed a ban on the slave trade in 1807, sank many slavers that were seized along the coast and up the rivers where slavers usually picked up their cargo. Images of such shackles may be seen in early anti-slavery tracts. See Lydia Maria Child's "Appeal in Behalf of that Class of Americans called Africans (Boston, 1833), or William Wilberforce's "Abstract of the Evidence, (London, 1791) where they are pictured together with the famous diagram of the hold of the slave ship "Brookes." Shackles like these and the long chain "koffles" are virtually the only type that can be verifiably said to have been used in the African slave trade. Other types of shackles could also have been used in law enforcement etc.