Sealaska Heritage Institute has acquired a Chilkat robe that was to be auctioned off on eBay on Wednesday. After the seller learned the robe was a sacred item, he allowed SHI to purchase it at the reserve price of $14,500. There were already multiple bids.
Typically, these objects can fetch upwards of $30,000.
The seller, George Blucker, bought the robe at an Illinois flea market 25 years ago. He thought it was a fake, but that seller told him it was purchased at an estate sale and had been brought back sometime after the Yukon gold rush.
The clan of origin is unknown. The robe is a Raven design and appears to be funerary object.
In a statement, Blucker said when he learned the robe had “religious significance” and a “spiritual presence,” he knew it needed to return home.
SHI expects the robe to arrive in Juneau later next week.