Rare Cheyenne Indian quilled shirt may bring $500K windfall to So. Oregon historical society

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The Bones Collection, including this early Cheyenne quilled shirt, is estimated to bring $300,000 to $500,000. Sale of the shirt will benefit the Southern Oregon Historical Society. Photos courtesy Bonhams

SAN FRANCISCO – The sale of a rare Cheyenne quilled shirt, circa 1830-1840 from The Bones Collection, will be sold Dec. 5, 2011 to benefit the Southern Oregon Historical Society as part of Bonhams’ Native American sale.

Considered one of the earliest examples known to exist , the shirt has been in their collection since the 1950s. It is said to have been collected at Fort McPherson in Nebraska in 1868, and may be associated with Spotted Tail, a Sioux leader, according to the family history accompanying it. The shirt is expected to sell for between $300,000 and $500,000.

A Navajo first phase chief’s blanket measuring approximately 4 feet by 5 feet 11 inches is estimated to earn $250,000 to $350,000.

More one-of-a-kind highlights in the sale include a modern Hopi bracelet by Charles Loloma, that stands out from his usual style, with gold and Japanese pearls ($20,000-$40,000); and a historic painted hide by Fred Kabotie, depicting scenes of Hopi ceremonial and religious beliefs, similar to a mural painted at the Desert View Watchtower in the Grand Canyon in 1933 ($15,000-$20,000). In addition to those examples, each region represented in the sale features rare and unique items.

The sale’s highlights from the Southwest will include a Navajo first phase Ute-style chief’s blanket – one of only a handful in existence, named due to its popularity with the Ute Indians and understood today as an iconic representation of the best Navajo weaving, from a private Texas collection ($250,000-$350,000). There will also be a number of classic period Navajo blankets, woven for personal use rather than decorative purposes, with varying estimates. Also created for personal use, will be a large selection of late 19th and early 20th century pottery vessels for cooking and storage.

From the Northwest Coast will be an early dagger, originally from the Hooper Collection, recently consigned from the Collection of Stuart Mills in Southern California ($60,000-$90,000). Also from the Mills Collection is a classic Tlingit raven rattle ($30,000-$50,000) and a selection of bentwood boxes and horn spoons (estimates vary).

From regions throughout California and Nevada will be a selection of basketry from a private family collection, including a Maidu cooking or storage basket ($4,000-$6,000); along with fine examples of Panamint, Washo, Yokut and Mission weaving (estimates vary).
Rounding out the sale will be highlights from the Plains and Plateau regions, including a rare, detailed mirror stick, highly-regarded by its native users as a tool holding power and significance ($15,000-$20,000).

View the entire sale catalog online at Bonhams.

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