INDIAN ARTIFACTS – Clothing & Wardrobe Not Many Can Afford Today

Lakota (Sioux) War Shirt (back), about 1875. Photo Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art.
 For several years now, I have traveled to South Dakota to a reservation to work with the children of the Lakota Tribe. At one time, this reservation covered 500,000 acres and touched four states. Today it is only about 45,000 acres. Amazingly enough, there aren’t any Indian artifacts on the reservation, so you’d be wasting your time thinking you might find a treasure or two there. Judging by the way we treated our Native American brother, this is not surprising.

So where might we find these treasures? For one, they just might be in that old trunk you find a the next garage or estate sale. You see, these artifacts were brought back by people who traveled West from 1850 until the late 1930s. They were considered trinkets then. Those who brought them back thought they looked nice or perhaps, they might even create a good story back home. They weren’t bringing them back for their monetary value.

This is definitely not true today. There are serious collectors that will pay almost anything for the right pieces of Indian artifacts, and these artifacts are very scarce. You probably won’t find a nice piece of Indian clothing everyday, but when you do, the rewards can be handsome.

My reference and price guide by Lar Hothems is dated 1998, but in today’s market, you can probably add three to four times the amount of money stated. You see, after the year 2000, Western items really took off, and the prices continue to soar. This book illustrates pieces ranging from $5,000 to $75,000, so do the math for the items I’m speaking of to get an idea of what 2008 values might be.

An example of some of these values is a woman’s dress, from around 1880, owned by a member of the Shoshone tribe, made of buckskin with fringe and beautiful beading. The 1998 listing shows a value of $25,000. A war shirt by the Blackfoot tribe shows a value of $50,000. Today these items can bring many times that figure and are highly sought after. Another entry illustrates another war shirt, valued at $75,000. You’d be lucky to buy it today for $250,000.

There are less expensive pieces, such as Medicine Bundles, Martingales and Blanket Straps, but even these might bring $7,500 to $15,000 for the better pieces.

Will you be out there dealing in Indian Artifacts? Maybe not. But, tuck this knowledge into your head so it can come forward in your mind should you encounter something that looks like it could just be an Indian artifact. There’s no telling where they might pop up.

Last year my family and I were invited to a church event in, and as always, I wanted to look around afterwards. When we came upon a sign that said, “Pow Wow tonight,” only Joshua was brave enough to go. So, off the two of us went later that night.

As we approached the dance circle grounds and looked over the hillside, Joshua’s eyes got as big as saucers. Five hundred dancing Native Americans, men, women and children, created swirling colors of motion of the most indescribable beauty my eyes have ever been witness to.

Yet, in being witness to this event, my heart felt bittersweet. You see, I knew all the clothing had been especially made today for these Pow Wows. I couldn’t help but yearn to have been an observer to an event like this way back in time, when these tribes danced this dance with such joy and great pride.

Attending shows is the best way to an get up close look at authentic Native American Artifacts. Arrowheads.com has a very comprehensive list of North American Artifact society shows, dealer shows, educational events and upcoming auctions on their site. Click here to access the list.

Discover how our book can be the tool that helps you build more personal wealth than you might have thought possible. And doing it in the Antiques, Collectibles, and Fine Art Markets rather than the traditional methods. You won’t find these kind of results with your bank or your stock broker!

Read more about The Million Dollar Challenge members are participating in.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to see what we’ve got listed in the 31 Gallery & Marketplace, click on over and take a look. You might even find a real bargain. We’ve got many high quality items priced reasonably. If you have a high quality piece you’d like us to find a buyer for, why not consign your item to us. No high fees when you sell with us. Contact us here.

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