Well after thinking about the auction of all of Roy Rogers stuff, I thought about what might be in these Western Auctions that you see advertised in Western magazines. I really had no idea… I used to collect ceramic water fowl statues. Ducks and flying or walking birds… I love to look at them for some reason…
Anyway, then I wondered about what type of person would be selling these Western articles to the auctions? I wondered if this auction circuit is just a massive lazysusan of already discovered items from days gone by… Or, are new artifacts surfacing daily? I mean, how much more is left to be unearthed? Are there still old cowboys with wooden trunks filled with six-shooters and pocket watches? In any event, the cynic in me figures that the really unique and authentic items are snatched up by the few very well-heeled collectors. There are probably some grizzled Sam Elliott cowboy gazillionaires who are collectors of Western memorabilia and snap up all the good stuff before we even know it exists. Or, not… Dunno. I needed to open my mind…
Perhaps new stashes are found in old barns and cellars every day?! If you watch HOARDERS this seems quite possible. But, I wondered. I wondered about the history behind all of the pieces. I wondered if those psychics who can put their hands on an object and tell its past would have their heads split apart if they entered an auction room like that… I mean, imagine the sensory overload of all of these pieces chattering at once!
Then I thought about myself… What would I like from a Western Auction? Well, since I didn’t know what they sell in these auctions, I didn’t have a clear idea. But, if I could just use my imagination, I would create a Western boardwalk town at my place. I’d want the swinging doors and the settin’ porches and the sound of a tinkling piana just off in the distance. I’m sure the floors not quite matching the walls or the plumbing being what it was back then would not really float my boat. But, the idea is very alluring. Hmmmmm. I had to check out an auction for myself!
First I looked at the ad for the Western Estate Auction from A&S Auction Company. Hmmmm. As we all know, the word “estate” gets tossed around pretty loosely. I’m sure you’ve been driving around your neighborhood and seen those hand crafted (putting it gently) signs for “estate” sales… Basically, the word “estate” can just be a catch-all term for items that look like they could have come from another era. Anyway, I decided to adventure… So, here goes!
WESTERN ESTATE AUCTION A&S AUCTION COMPANY
OK, first of all, I need to say that the ad in COWBOYS AND INDIANS was quite pleasing to the eye. It looked like they had a bunch of things you would find as props in a trendy Western store or maybe in the lounge of an upscale dude ranch. After all, the ad boasted “over 700 quality lots!” So far, so good.
I entered the site. It was easy to navigate. There were about 10 photos to a page. If you liked the photo, you could click on it and a brief description would come up. As I clicked a few pages I discovered what seemed to be a theme… I understand that each auction is different depending upon what the auction house acquires during that time frame. Well, this auction which is listed as June 12-13 (and we are now at June 17) must have been an interesting find… I think it should have been titled, “Things to kill with, things to inflict pain, stuffed things and some pretty paintings.” Oy. Not too many pieces in this collection for your Montana Lodge reception area…
Anyway, after sifting through the many sharp and dangerous objects (or dead and stuffed objects), I have listed a few items that I thought were interesting for you to see. Since I figure you all aren’t going to run out and look up any auctions immediately, I’ll happily take a look around and post it here.
1) This first lot had a photo of a leather jacket which I found interesting so I clicked on it.
The story was pretty cool. You get an early leather fringed & beaded jacket (the one pictured), hair-on-hide gauntlets, personal tools for buffalo skinning, original photo of 101 Ranch hands w/ buffalo herd, two original photos of squaw & son of White Crow, photo of 101 buffalo herd of 1905, also, a canceled check from the 101 Ranch Wild West Show written to Miller Bros Trust for $5489.50, signed by Joe Miller, a photo of White Crow’s son after a kill of a buffalo on the 101 with what appears to be a Winchester 1894, and last but not least, a hand written & signed letter from White Crow’s son, Billy White Crow.
Wow. And then it goes on to say that this was acquired from the son of White Crow himself who was born in 1903. He wrote and signed a statement describing how these items were used by his father and what it all meant to him as a boy. Cool.
2) This was so creepy I had to include it. Of all the stuffed items, these were the most unusual.
It is described at Lot 44. These are stuffed bobcats measuring 36″ tall who are now mounted on 4′ rustic board in outstanding condition. Both cats were killed with a Remington equipped with night a vision scope and you could purchase that, too…
3) I loved
this top hat. If I had it, I would make Hubby wear it. It is described as Lot #40, Early beaver top hat with beaded brim and large eagle crest in front. I didn’t know beavers wore top hats… Sounds like a Lewis Carroll character. “Alice entered and met a beaver wearing a top hat with beaded trim and an eagle crest…”
4) This photo looked so out of the ordinary for this auction, I
wondered how this shelf of books made it in? Actually, there were a few book collections lingering among all the carnage. They seemed to all be very similar so they probably came from the same source. So, I clicked on this particular photo.
It is a set of books describing the Presidents. “Lot 251, estate collection of 43 biographies of different Presidents of the US. They have beautiful covers , gold lettering from the estate of the late Dr. Bauerle, San Antonio, TX. Some books have the original plastic covers and were never opened.”
I thought it was interesting that no authors were mentioned. I wonder whose point of view wrote these bios? Interesting. I’ve never thought about buying books not based on the author, except when purchasing Encyclopedias.
5) Yay! A painting. No blood or depiction of blood.
Just a couple of guys riding on the range. OK… The description says, “Lot 12 Double signed, Joe Rader Roberts, canvas transfer, #79. Measures 18″ x 24″, w/ frame of 24″ x 30″. Signed & numbered lower left. Also has Texas Ranger seal. This art was commissioned during the early 70s at the grand opening of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & is one of the originals.”
Aha! Not really an antique (or I am an antique as well…) but it was an estate piece. And, since I’m not a fine art person I have no idea about Joe Rader Roberts or what “double signed” means. Signed front and back? Signed twice in a cool halo effect? Signed by Joe Rader and then Joe Roberts? Anyway, it is probably something really special so I’m not making fun. At least no one is using a rifle, killing anything or mounting any heads.
RED BARON’S AUCTION, JUNE 26 – 27
First of all, the site (www.rbantiques.com) — this kills me because my eye sees R BANTIQUES, not R B ANTIQUES… anyway, I went to the site and it is really designed like an assault on your eyes. I didn’t know where to begin. In fact, instead of simplifying it, they write instructions (in yet a different color) on the front page to help you find your way. Oy.
OK, well that didn’t help much because every lot item has the exact same description. The only difference is the header which tells you what category this mystery piece falls under. So, you have to click on the header to see the piece and if you are interested, you need to call them. Uh huh. If you want to continue, you have to click back and guess what the next item might be. This exercise could be fun since you have a general category to muse over while you wait for the newly clicked mystery item to appear, but really… why? I was clicking away, willy nilly, having no idea what I would see or if it would interest me. I guess if I had the money to purchase these items I might also have the idle time to review them in such an arcane manner. I had to clear my cache about 3 times just to get through a few pages. Not user friendly.
The good news is there was far less gore but also far less Western stuff. I went back to the ad to see if it even says “Western” and I realized that it didn’t. The ad was just in a Western magazine which would lead you to believe it had Western stuff in it. Or at least it lead me to believe that. I picked out a few items of interest.
1) Really large furniture.Lots of really large furniture. There must be a huge network of people who move really large furniture for other people. Maybe it is like the horse transportation business. If you have a horse, you know what those rigs look like. If you don’t, you never notice them. So, it must be like that… I mean, how do you transport an entire gazebo, a Victorian leaded glass door, a mantle the size of my house or Tuscany doors removed from some castle?
2) I foundseveral things that were extremely interesting like a Russian telescope and a vintage Zenith movie camera. But, I wanted to stick with Western items. So, I found this… A “parlor pistol”…? Is this for when I wish to end someone’s life in a parlor? Or is this a pistol pretty enough for your parlor? Isn’t it strange that a gun would have such a soft sounding name? It is a Flobert single shot 22 caliber parlor pistol. Hmmmmm. Maybe ladies who worked in parlors carried them in their garters… It kinda looks like it is missing a piece.
3) This slot machine caught my eye because it brought me back to thedays when I had a toy slot machine. I forget the function of my toy besides a slot machine (piggy bank or purse?) but the dials spun really fast if I pulled the handle and it made a whirring noise. I remember that my hair blew back when I watched the numbers race around and around. I cherished that little toy… And, this reminded me of that. The description: 5 cent slot machine adorned with red diamond shapes. 2.2’H x 16″W.
4) This item I found really fascinating.It is a “Gamblers Box”. What is odd to me is how did these boxes come to be? It is a product, not a black market thing? So, did the gambler order this from Sears? I mean, how did they get manufactured? Did all gamblers have these in different colors?
I also find it very intriguing that every box came with a gun and a knife. Or in this case, two pearl handled guns and a knife. It also had some bullet sleeves built-in. I guess a gambler would open his box and prepare in his room before he went downstairs to the tables. He’d load his guns, stash his knife in his shoe and mark his cards. Then he’d saunter into the hall and play. If he was unlucky, would someone else end up with his Gamblers Box? Ahhh, if only the blue cloth could talk…
5) There were so many interesting things in this auction but I wanted to keep to horsey things. So, I picked this bronze piece as our last item. Now looking at this, one doesn’t know if it is the size of an orange or the size of a house. Actually, it is somewhere in-between. The description: KD5792 Bronze horse with jockey. 6.5’H x 6’L
OK, it is bigger than a breadbox and probably won’t fit in your foyer. And, it is yet another thing to be transported by those guys that do that. But for me, the curious part was that this looks like a young girl rider going to an equitation class, not a jockey. Her hat and outfit kinda give it away. And, I don’t see much “antiqueness” about this. She is wearing rather current boots. In fact, I think they are Ariats. And, she looks to be chewing gum… or tobacco. Just kidding. ;)
Anyway, that is my long winded foray into two of the Auction Houses you see in magazine ads. It was fun! Thanks for coming along.
I found this on MSNBC yesterday and had to clip it. I call it a Pug Shot. Too cute!
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