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Rare circa 1900 Sioux dentalium and tradecloth dress brings $7,475 at Big Spring Phoenix, March 7-8
A circa 1900 Sioux dentalium (tooth shell) and tradecloth dress that was featured on an episode of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow just prior to auction (where it was appraised for $5,000-$7,000), sold for $7,475 at the Big Spring Phoenix auction.
By: Allard Auctions, Inc.
This year’s two-day event, held March 7-8, featured more than 900 lots of Native American and Western artifacts, art and related collectibles. Included were Anasazi pottery, Zuni bolo ties and concho belts, a collection of Katsina dolls, baskets (from California, the Southwest and the Northwest Coast), pottery, beadwork and jewelry, Navajo rugs, original art, bronzes and prehistoric items.
The Sioux dentalium and tradecloth dress (with yoke) was in very good condition. It was a rare old 12-row, fully covered and removable dentalium shell yoke with canvas, having the original selvage tradecloth dress with ribbon and metallic sequin accents. A few of the dentalium shells were missing, not unusual considering its age. Larger dentalium shells were often used as money by the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, where the cone-shaped shells are grown.
A standing room only crowd of over 100 people packed the venue in person, while another 1,000 or so bid online, via LiveAuctioneers.com and iCollector.com. Phone bids were also recorded. About half of all lots sold went to absentee and internet bidders. By the time the final gavel fell on the second day of selling, the auction grossed about $230,000, including the buyer’s premium.
“The auction was helped along by a diverse selection of merchandise, including a nice collection of bolo ties and concho belts, prehistoric pottery from a private collection out of Texas and some great Navajo rugs,” said Steve Allard of Allard Auctions, Inc., adding, “Jewelry is a category that’s still very strong, while pottery and baskets sold within range. In all, it was a great auction.”
Following are additional highlights from the auction. Prices quoted reflect a 15 percent buyer’s premium, although the actual percentage may have been a bit different, depending on how the winning bid was placed.
A woman’s outfit from the Shoshone plateau tribe of Wyoming, made circa the 1960s, went for $5,463. The outstanding sinew-sewn flat and lazy stitch beaded white buckskin outfit was in very good condition. Also, a near room-size Navajo Crystal rug (or weaving) from the 1940s or ‘50s, with a striking geometric design in still vivid colors, 75 inches by 128 inches, realized $4,025.
Bolo ties (ties with two strings and a slide that goes up and down) made by the Zuni tribe from New Mexico, famous for their inlay work, were a surprise hit of the auction, sailing past even their high estimates. Two bolo ties from Virgil and Shirley Benn, both made in the 1970s or ‘80s, made $3,738 and $2,185; and a tie made by Eddie Beyuka (1920-1922), circa 1970s, hit $2,588.
In the jewelry category, a size 8 Hopi ring crafted by Charles Loloma around the 1970s or ‘80s, a beautiful wide all-silver band ring inlaid with raised stones (one of them gold), brought $2,875; and a Zuni matching necklace and earring set, made circa 1998 by Ricky and Carlton Jamon, set with finely carved turquoise frog fetishes all on a silver link chain and silver tube beads, rose to $2,588.
Hopi jars were a big hit with collectors. A mid-1900s jar by the legendary craftswoman Fannie Nampeyo, a classic wide polychrome olla with gorgeous colors featuring the “migration”
An oil on canvas painting by Marjorie Reed (Ariz./Calif., 1915-1996), rendered in the 1950s and titled Stable Room Only, depicting a night scene of the Holy family’s arrival, 29 inches by 39 inches (minus the frame), reached $2,588. Reed was famous for her paintings of Western scenes, often showing Butterfield Overland stagecoaches, the Overland Mail Route, cowboys and horses.
A prehistoric Anasazi pottery jar, a black-on-white water olla in as-found condition (in Tularosa, a village in Otero Cty., N.M.), 11 ¾ inches tall, with some cracks but in remarkable condition for its age, finished at $2,185; while a traditional hand-carved and painted Hopi cottonwood root “White Ogre” kachina doll from the Home Dance ceremony, 15 inches tall, commanded $978.
Baskets that fared even better than expected included a Chemehuevi basket from the early 1900s, an outstanding oval-shaped tray with arrow and diamond figures. Estimated to bring $400-$800, the basket went for $1,840. And a Papago (a tribe from south of Phoenix, known for their crude stitch baskets) large cylindrical storage basket, circa 1970s (est. $200-$400) made $748.
Other lots that exceeded expectations included a Navajo miniature, all-silver canteen from the 1960s or ‘70s, with the edges and stopper set with square-cut turquoise stones. Estimated at $300-$600, the canteen brought $1,265. Also, mid-1900s hand-wrought, all-silver Navajo salt dish (or container) with matching spoon, expected to sell for $150-$300, finished at $920.
Allard Auctions’ next auction event will be a smaller sale in Missoula, Mont. (time, date and location yet to be determined; watch the website for details, at www.allardauctions.com). Then, on Aug. 15-16, Allard Auctions will conduct the annual Best of Santa Fe auction, a major event on its calendar. It will be held at Scottish Rites Hall, 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 accepting 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 send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Allard Auctions, Inc. and the upcoming Missoula auction and Best of Santa Fe, slated for August 15th and 16th, please visit www.allardauctions.com. Updates are posted often.
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