Collectors’ appetite for Western memorabilia shows no signs of waning as bidders blasted presale estimates in spending $2.1 million for just 344 lots. The auction offered fine, rare American Indian artifacts and art works, which experts said represented some of the most important finds ever to come to market. The sale, Jan. 29, 2011, sale resulted in the second highest per lot average in High Noon’s 21 year history.
Linda Kohn Sherwood, co-owner of High Noon, opened the evening with her welcoming speech, a tradition for this High Noon event. Then auctioneer Troy Black and his ring men were off and running and bidder cards flew up. The tone of the excitement for the evening was set early on when a pair of Star Spangles Banner Boots by the Hyer Boot Company sold for $12,650. It happened again just a few lots later when a turn of the century salesman sample windmill by the Woodmanse Mfg. Co. of Freeport, (IL) earned $9,775. All prices reflect a 15 percent buyers premium.
A bronze on wood base titled “Turning the Leaders” by John Hampton sold for $12,650. This was followed by $13,800 achieved by a bronze on marble base by Harry Jackson entitled “Two Champs II.”
Horse accoutrement performed equally strong. A G.S. Garcia eagle bit sold for $8,050 and a pair of C.P. Shipley spurs expected to earn $10,000 on the high side went for $12,650. As expected, Bohlin performed well. Lot #153, a Bohlin Taxin Model silver and gold parade saddle brought $63,250.
Starting off the American Indian category was a circa 1870 Blackfeet Tomahawk and Beaded Drop, which earned $37,950 after heated bidding from the floor and phones. Immediately following, a Sioux Pictorial Beaded Vest sold for $14,950 and a circa 1860 Plateau Pony Beaded Shirt sold for solidly within estimate for $74,750. A charming Kiowa Beaded Model Cradle, circa 1880, achieved $18,400.
The name Edward Borein always draw competitive bidding and this year, particular excitement was seen on his ornate Charro Jacket and Vest. Acquired and personally worn by Borein, this ensemble sold for $21,850.
Turning to the fine Western art category, the room stood in applause as the hammer dropped on “Wild Horses,” (PHOTO 8) a signed oil on board by Will James that would bring the highest price of the evening. Bidding on this work opened at $50,000 and quickly escalated into a bidding war driving the final sale price to $149,500.
In Linda Kohn Sherwood’s opening speech, she teased the crowd that “tonight, the true Rooster Cogburn” would be revealed. Was it John Wayne or Jeff Bridges? Well, that question might not have been answered but it was great fun watching the crowd bid furiously on the original vest, shirt and scarf worn by John Wayne in the original 1969 Paramount production of “True Grit.” Selling for $21,850, we’ll have to wait until Jeff Bridges ensemble comes to auction to see who is the “real Rooster Cogburn.”
For more information about High Noon Western Americana, visit or call the offices at 310-202-9010.
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