Sporting flawless provenance, ‘Pancho’ Villa’s final saddle may ride out at $250K

Pancho Villa’s last saddle will come to public auction Jan. 28, 2012, when it is expected to earn $250,000.

MESA, Ariz. — Pancho Villa, infamous renegade, revolutionary and hero of the Mexican people, was assassinated almost 100 years ago after a short but highly contentious and celebrated life. Villa’s life story was retold many times on the silver screen, in museums and institutions around the world and a name honored on street signs and plazas throughout the Americas.

Francisco “Pancho” Villa on the silver-trimmed saddle.

Villa’s silver-threaded saddle will captivate collectors and historians alike when it comes to public auction Jan. 28, 2012, at the High Noon Western Americana auction in Mesa, Ariz. Historic, romantic, important — this final artifact of his life is estimated to bring $150,000 to $250,000.

The provenance of this saddle is impeccable: Given by Villa’s widow and only legal wife (reportedly he had eight) to famed Hollywood director Howard Hawks during the filming of “Viva Villa,” she presented this saddle to him as a gift as she felt the film truly extolled the Mexican Revolution and Villa himself. For the past 20 years, Villa’s saddle has been on display both the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas, and the South Texas History Museum in Edinburg, Texas.

The saddle, in excellent condition, is smothered in silver-wrapped threads and boldly-domed silver conchos. Made and marked by expert craftsmen, it has Francisco (nickname: Pancho) Villa’s initials in high relief on the stirrups. Thematically it has a three-dimensional silver snakehead and a carved diablo in the leather under the grand saddlebags. Joseph Sherwood of High Noon says, “This is the trifecta for saddles: beautiful, in great condition and historically significant.”

The 22nd Annual High Noon Western Americana Weekend Event will be held Jan. 28-29, 2012, at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Ariz.

The important High Noon Western Americana Auction will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, when the final Pancho Villa saddle as well as more than 300 lots of important Western Americana, art, artifacts and historic property will be offered.

For more information on High Noon’s Western Americana weekend event and the Pancho Villa saddle, visit