So the other day I was browsing eBay and found this listing for a nkondi. A nkondi, a.k.a. "nail fetish", is a type of nkisi or fetish which serves as a dwelling of a spirit in the beliefs of the Congo peoples. When the nkisi is in the form of a carved human figure it is called a nkondi. Westerners tend to call them "nail fetishes" since circa the 1800s the Congo people began to hammer nails into the statues in order to enrage the nkondi and get them to work faster. Nkondi protect individuals or communities from witchcraft, illness, and evil by spiritually attacking the evil doers. However, the problem is that almost every single nkondi sold today is a fake. The 'real deal' date back to the mid-to-late 1800s and very early 1900s. After circa 1920 the Congo peoples began to mass produce them specifically for sale to white people, meaning they aren't made in the traditional manner and were never used to guard a family or community. The real deal can cost thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. I've seen real ones sell for like $90,000.00 to $200.000.00.
Right now there are many nkondi for sale on eBay. Some of them are listed at hundreds of dollars to a few thousand. Let the buy beware. All of them are fake. There is even one current listing where the seller states that the nkondi has been identified via pictures by a Christies auctioneer. Don't believe it, 'cause it ain't true. Appraisals can only be made in person, never via pictures. All the auctioneer did was to "identify" it, not appraise it and not assert a value to it. Yet many ignorant people are placing bids for hundreds of dollars on it. Sad. There are two types of fake nkondi being sold. Those two types are ones created in the Congo region and ones created in other places around the world. If you are going to purchase a fake nkondi you should at least purchase those made in the Congo region.
Anyway, I knew from the beginning that the nkondi I wanted to purchase was a fake even though the seller never listed it as a fake piece which according to eBay rules they are supposed to do. I wanted it for it's artistic value. Here is the piece below.
So I went to the casino last night. I only brought $50 with me. Before I got out of my car and went inside I spoke to myself out loud (in my car) that if the nkondi gave me a win of at least a $100 I would purchase this statue. So I go inside. I end up playing almost all night. I would get down to a few dollars and then win like $60 or $70 which kept me playing. I hopped several machines. Finally at 3:15 am and with only $30 left I was thinking of calling it a night. However, I decided to try one more machine. It was the King of Africa machine. Within 10 minutes I hit all 5 rows of lions, what is considered jackpot. I've done this before. Once again it was only a 20 cent bet but I won a little over a $100. Then it dawned on me the promise I made. Then it dawned on me the machine I was on, "King of Africa". LOL. So I thought it was a sure thing! I placed my max bid on the nkondi as to keep my promise and with 2 seconds left of the auction someone outbid me. I was so mad. However, looking back I'm glad because all of the bidders were "private listings", which usually means sellers and unfortunately they are often suspected of being the seller under different accounts trying to drum up more money for the listing. So I ended up not winning the nkondi but that's okay because it was fake. That's my weirdly false-synchronitic tale.
So, if you take away anything from reading this blog entry then just realize that all nkondi sold for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars or less are all fakes. The real deal are very expensive.