Published: June 8, 2015
FORT WORTH, TEXAS — The top lot at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction June 6 was the Dixie W. Thompson saddle with custom silver that achieved $195,500 from a floor bidder, including the 15 percent buyer’s premium. The saddle was in the collection of the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, Calif. for nearly a century and proceeds will benefit the museums’ acquisition funds.
The circa 1889 custom saddle was the work of S. Loomis Saddlery Company for the Santa Barbara rancher, capitalist and former sea captain, Dixie W. Thompson. The silver work, fashioned using bullion from Mexican silver dollars, took over two years to complete and is attributed to the Tiffany-trained master Edwin Field. The complete outfit, with equally detailed custom silver reins, bridle, bit, and cinch was estimated at $60/80,000 and had never been offered for sale before.
Auction founder Brian Lebel said of the saddle, “The Dixie Thompson saddle outfit represents some of the very finest work by some of the best artisans of any era. Together they created one of the most magnificent saddles ever produced in America.” Dixie’s saddle was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and made frequent parade appearances with Mr Thompson aboard.”
A complete report on the auction and show will appear in a future edition.
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