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2015 National Money Show Museum Showcase | Potlatch coppers

    type

    Exonumia

    name

    Potlatch coppers

    notes

    The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast share the tradition of the potlatch. A potlatch is a gift-giving feast that traditionally was the primary means of economic exchange. The wealthiest and most powerful chieftains among the tribes would host great ceremonial potlatches lasting several days. The most significant of all gifts were large sheets of shield-shaped copper decorated with a variety of tribal crests. These objects are known collectively in English as “coppers” or “shields”. The value of these pieces was primarily measured in prestige, but they were also valued in terms of bride price, blankets or slaves to name a few. The ANA Museum Showcase will feature a display of these interesting and rare Native-American objects in Portland.

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