Published: October 5, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by Laura Beach
SANTA FE, N.M. — Allard Auctions, Inc, has been organizing sales in Santa Fe for 23 years. This year’s August 12–14 vendue at the historic Scottish Rite Cathedral, the flamboyantly pink Masonic temple in the city’s old downtown, opened with something new: a festive Friday evening session of Native American jewelry, about 200 lots in all, some of it from a distinguished Chicago collection.
“It was a shining start,” Montana-based auctioneer Steve Allard said later. The “really nice” selection, a mix of old pawn and signed Modern and contemporary pieces, plumped up the weekend’s bottom line, which reached about $500,000 on just under 900 lots.
The headliner in the jewelry session was a gorgeous Lander Blue turquoise and silver teardrop and squash blossom necklace by the well-known Navajo smith Lee Yazzie. It sailed past estimate to bring $8,625. Another big name, Hopi craftsman Charles Loloma, was represented by a circa 1980s lady’s stone-inlaid silver belt buckle, $2,300. An inlaid Zuni bolo tie by Eddie Beyuka went to $2,588. A circa 1970 squash blossom necklace by Tommy Singer, a Navajo, realized $2,875.
The wearable art was the warm-up act for the main attraction, three hide war shirts and a hide dress that collectively garnered $93,150.
“Two went to dealers and two went to collectors,” said Allard, who was happy to see competitive bidding on the garments. Heading the list was a Nineteenth Century Sioux sinew-sewn beaded shirt, $31,625, embellished with American flags. Two other lots formerly belonged to Joseph O’Leary (1911–1993), an expert at Harvard’s Peabody Museum who formed an important private collection of Plains Indian material, auctioned by Christie’s in 1994. A Teton Sioux beaded shirt of circa 1900 from the O’Leary trove made $25,875; a Sioux woman’s buckskin dress with beaded decoration, $12,650. Formerly in the Goodman collection, a late Nineteenth century Northern Plains buckskin war shirt with quilled embellishment crossed the block at $23,000.
“Historic beadwork of good quality is a very solid part of the market,” Allard observed.
Beaded cradleboards, full- and doll-sized, attracted notice, with an early Twentieth Century Sioux example making $6,325. The 38-inch-long relic served as the cover lot for a 1992 sale at Dunning’s. There was also a late 1800s Sioux buckskin and muslin cradleboard with quilled decoration. It reached $5,750.
A standout in the weaving category was a circa 1890 Navajo Germantown eyedazzler, $8,050, woven in an unusual pattern that mingled elements of Ganado and Crystal J.B. Moore designs. Another Navajo Germantown blanket, $6,900, of about the same date featured spider-woman crosses on a black over purple Moki-stripe ground.
Just for fun, Allard threw in a smattering of Western antiques and collectibles. “Just Once I Would Like To Shoot An Educated Man,” an oil on linen painting by the contemporary Montana artist Dave Powell, depicted a scene from the film Lonesome Dove. It made $6,900.
Any collector of Western Americana knows the name Edward H. Bohlin, who made fancy-dress saddles for Hollywood’s rich and famous. A Bohlin belt and buckle set for entertainer Lee Greenwood was a nice buy at $1,380.
“I’ve got a collection of crazy, beautiful northern California baskets,” Allard says of his Big Fall Phoenix Auction. The November 12–13 sale also features beadwork from an important Chicago collection, arrowheads and much else. Allard Auctions closes out its 2016 season with smaller holiday sales in Portland, Ore., and Seattle on December 11 and 12.
Prices include buyer’s premium.
Specializing in American Indian art and artifacts, Allard Auctions is headquartered in St Ignatius, Mont. For information, www.allardauctions.com, 406-745-0500 or 888-314-0343.
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