Published: February 21, 2017
Review and Photos by Michael Friedman
MESA, ARIZ. – Brian Lebel’s annual High Noon Show got off to a busy start the weekend of January 21-22 as 183 dealers from as far away as New Hampshire rolled into the Phoenix Marriott Mesa to display their wares.
As in past years, the show presented a fine balance of Native American and Western artifacts. And, as before, there was much to choose from in both categories. Many of America’s premier dealers in these related fields exhibited a stunning array of antiques and collectibles. Prices for antiques and the numbers of collectors interested in them may be declining, but the High Noon Show saw much buying, selling and trading among dealers on Friday, January 20, during setup and the VIP preview. One dealer noted, “This is an excellent time for collectors. Prices have reset significantly in the past five years.” That said, the market remains strong for the best items in almost all categories.
Rain boosted the large, enthusiastic crowd and lifted sales on Saturday. Much to the delight of exhibitors specializing in Navajo jewelry, camp blankets and vintage clothing, Doug Bihlmaier, a Western buyer and designer for the Ralph Lauren Corporation, was spotted at the show.
Newcomb, N.M., dealer Mark Winter, owner of the Toadlena Trading Post, brought striking Navajo rugs and blankets from the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills region. Winter is the author of Saddle Up!, a book on Navajo saddle blankets, and The Master Weavers.
Veteran Indian artifacts dealer Mike McKissick of Waterbird Traders, Dallas, displayed a beautiful beaded Cheyenne tobacco bag made around 1865. It was $7,500. McKissick said he had a good show.
Mesa dealer and collector Bob Minor brought his usual high-quality array of Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century advertising antiques. A highlight was a near mint 1890 Detroit Jewel salesman sample stove tagged $2,200.
Pacifica, Calif., dealer Barbara Miles displayed early Navajo turquoise and silver jewelry. Indian jewelry, both vintage and contemporary, could have filled the entire show.
Tony Cirone of Cirone Studios in Windsor, Conn., featured vintage posters from old Western movies. The posters dated from the early Twentieth Century to the 1950s and beyond.
Homer, Mich., exhibitor Randy Butters, a maker of spurs, offered examples of his work, beautifully crafted and highly sought after. There were also plenty of vintage and antique spurs to choose from at the show. Some of the best were for sale at Bruce Bartlett of Rio Grande Trading Company, San Antonio, Texas.
Bruce Van Landingham of Sundog Fine Art, Bozeman, Mont., brought his usual selection of high-end material. He included a Sharps Civil War 1859 sniper rifle, $32,000, and a vivid Navajo Germantown blanket with pictorial elements on a Moki striped ground. Dating to about 1875, the weaving was $35,000.
Santa Fe, N.M., gallerist Andrew Smith displayed a choice group of historic Western photographs.
Austin, Texas, dealer Cliff Logan tagged a Wenzel Friedrich horn chair with a rich, caramelized patina $6,500.
Brian Lebel’s next event is the Old West Show and Auction in Fort Worth, Texas, June 9-11.
For further information on Brian Lebel’s High Noon and Old West shows and auctions, www.oldwestevents.com or 480-779-9378.
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