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The Puffer collection of Native American artwork and artifacts will be sold in Santa Fe, Aug. 16-17
Around 900 lots of Western and Native art, American Indian artifacts and related collectibles will come up for bid at the Best of Santa Fe auction, an annual event hosted by Allard Auctions, Inc., at the Scottish Rites Hall in Santa Fe, N.M.
Headlining this year’s auction will be the private collection of Herb and Peggy Puffer, who opened the Pacific Western Trader – their shop and mini-museum – on Wool Street in Folsom, Calif., in 1972. There, they conducted live demonstrations of American Indian craftsmanship that provided valuable information to a curious and fascinated public about the various Indian crafts.
The business also provided a venue for Native craftsmen to showcase their talents. It became renowned for its well-researched merchandise and interesting, informative permanent displays. The Puffers’ huge collection includes baskets by the Karuk basket maker Florence Jacobs Harrie (1889-1981), Santa Clara pottery by Teresita Naranjo, beadwork, jewelry and original artwork.
The second day of the auction – Sunday, Aug. 17, beginning with lot #501 – will be dominated by offerings from the Puffers’ collection. Overall, the auction will be packed with desirable baskets (including several historical pieces dating back more than a century), prehistoric pottery pieces (three by Fannie Nampeyo), dazzling hand-crafted jewelry pieces and wonderful artwork.
“This will probably be the best art auction we’ve had in ten years,” said Steve Allard of Allard Auctions. “Between the original paintings, the bronze statues and the high-end prints, there will be something for just about every level of collector. I’m excited about this auction in general. The interest is there, the lots are great and we expect a lively crowd, both in-person and online.”
Three lots in the sale carry pre-sale estimates of $10,000-$20,000. One is a large museum-quality Navajo rug (or weaving), made around the 1940s and measuring 45 inches by 81 inches. It is an exceptional fine-weave Yei figural rug with additional bows and arrows, each figure with a different pattern kilt. The rug is in remarkably good condition and is a true showpiece example.
Another is a Karuk “catch basket” (or flour tray) made circa 1925 by Florence Jacobs Harrie. The finely woven basket is made from bear grass, maidenhair fern and woodwardia fern and is in excellent condition. Harrie considered this her life’s masterpiece, no small statement considering the many excellent creations she left behind. It is one of the prized items in the Puffer collection.
The third is a circa-1890 Pomo basket, with beautiful and fine geometric designs done with red fern. The huge twined conical-shaped traditional burden basket is in excellent condition. Another noteworthy basket is an early 1900s Yokuts basket by Waysheemlet (est. $7,500-$15,000)
This sale boasts three pottery jars by Hopi master Fannie Nampeyo, to include a circa-1971 thin-walled, polychrome seed pot with signature “migration”
A large Navajo necklace, created and signed in 1974 by Ben Nighthorse Campbell (who is actually Northern Cheyenne; this piece was done in the Navajo style), sterling with sea form turquoise nuggets and bench-made beads, 44 inches long, should hammer for $5,000-$10,000.
An early 1900s hand-crafted white buckskin man’s Mandan war shirt with matching leggings (both with colorful, finely quilled ornaments, human hair suspensions and painted horseshoes) should realize $4,000-$8,000. Also, a circa 1880 tall lidded soft weave Sally bag, loaded with traditional figures such as condors, deer (or elk) and sturgeon, is expected to hit $4,000-$8,000.
A circa-1970s hand-punched wool tapestry by R. C. Gorman, titled Waiting Desert Women (#1 of 12), 60 inches by 79 inches, should change hands for $5,000-$10,000. Also, an R. C. Gorman portfolio from around 1974 – a rare suite of four hand-signed limited-edition (#65/70) full color lithographs on arches paper – titled Homage to the Spider Woman – should bring $4,000-$8,000.
A late 1800s three-piece Menominee “standing pipe” set, featuring a catlinite T-bowl and two beautiful carved stems (a 16-inch version for holding and a 56-ihc version for passing around) is expected to gavel for $5,000-$10,000. Also, an early 1900s Sioux beaded pipe bag in a classic design made of antelope hide with sinew sewn and lazy stitch beading, should hit $2,500-$5,000.
The auction is open to the public and admission is free. Previews will be held Saturday, Aug.16, from 8 a.m. until the first gavel comes down at 12 noon (Mountain time); and Sunday, Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. until the 10 a.m. auction start time. A buyer’s premium of 20 percent (for online purchases) and 15 percent (for in-person and absentee bidding) will be applied to all purchases.
Internet bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com and iCollector.com. For those able to attend in person, historic Scottish Rites Hall is located at 463 Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe, N.M.
Allard Auctions, Inc. has been selling exclusively American Indian artifacts and art at auction since 1968. The firm is always on the hunt for quality merchandise for future auctions. To inquire about consigning a single piece, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them at (406) 745-0500 or toll-free: (888) 314-0343; or, you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Allard Auctions, Inc., and the upcoming Best of Santa Fe 2014 auction scheduled for Aug. 16-17, please visit www.allardauctions.com.