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Crow beaded hide war shirt may command upward of $40,000

An early 20th century Native American beaded hide war shirt, once owned by Chief 'Bell Rock' Biitawuásh, is from the collection of a founder of the American Football League, coming to auction Nov. 18 through Heritage Auctions.

 DALLAS, Texas – A circa 1900 Crow beaded hide war shirt once belonging to Chief Bell Rock is expected to sell for more than $40,000 in Ethnographic Art: American Indian, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Jewelry, a specialty auction conducted by Heritage Auctions Nov. 18 in Dallas.

The rare war shirt is the pinnacle of the private collection of Houston businessman Kenneth S. “Bud” Adams, Jr., whose more than 100 lots makes up the cornerstone of the sale.

War Shirt Presents Connection to American Football League

Adams' legacy is as a founder of the American Football League and owner of one of its charter teams, the Oilers/Titans franchise. His heritage includes membership in the Cherokee Nation. His collection of American Indian art was just one expression of his enthusiasm for the material culture of his heritage.

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“Mr. Adams amassed an important collection through his wonder and appreciation for a wide variety of items used by American Indians,” said Delia Sullivan, Senior Specialist, Consignment Director-Ethnographic Art.

Chief Bell Rock's history involves the greatest pipe carriers (leaders of war parties) of the pre-reservation era. His war shirt dates to about 1900. It's decoration features metallic and glass seed beads, red wool trade cloth, horsehair and sinew.

Cheyenne Tribal Artifacts Among Offerings

Adams’ collection includes an early and rare Otoe Beaded Hide Tobacco Bag ($18,000-22,000). The bag dates to the 1870s. In addition, two attractive items from the Cheyenne tribe are on offer. One is a circa 1870s Cheyenne buffalo hide medicine case ($10,000-15,000). It also dates to the 1870s. Also, a Cheyenne Beaded Hide Baby Carrier ($10,000-15,000) is coming to auction. Its design includes glass seed beads, wood, canvas, cotton cloth, brass bells and thimble. It dates to the early 20th century.

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The more than 400 additional historic lots span millennia and several cultures across North and Central America.

A rare Chumash Polychrome Coiled Tray (est. $18,000-20,000), circa 18th century, presents in a style familiar to academics. The visual anthropologist J.C.H. King, who spent 40 years as a curator at the British Museum, illustrates a similar Chumash basket – probably by the same hand – in two of his books. Also on offer is an extraordinary Chumash Coiled Jar ($20,000-25,000), comprising of juncas and sumac.

Figures Leading Ethnographic Lots

A diverse selection of ethnographic art includes a Chupicuaro Standing Female (est. $7,000-10,000), circa 400 - 200 B.C., a Teotihuacan Stone Mask (est. $20,000-30,000) circa 450-650 A.D. and an Olmec Jade Maskette Pendant (est. $10,000-15,000), a superb, utterly classic example in rich, deep green jade.

Important pre-Columbian ceramics features a monumental Jalisco Seated Male figure standing 18-3/4 inches tall (est. $10,000-15,000) dated to between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. and a Veracruz Standing Priest or Orator (est. $3,000-4,000) dated to about 450 - 650 A.D.

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