Sunday, June 24, 2012

Parade saddles at the Old West Show & Auction

For weekend every year, Brian Lebel's Cody Old West Show & Auction fills the Denver Merchandise Mart with all sorts of amazing, historic saddlery, including a large number of silver trimmed parade saddles.
In years past, I've wandered the vendor booths with camera in hand, and no one has voiced an objection.  This time, however, several vendors specifically requested that I not photograph their items.  I found this rather disappointing, of course, but I respected their wishes and kept my lens cap firmly in place.

Fortunately, there were no such restrictions on the auction items.  Today's post focuses on five of the parade sets that were featured in last night's auction.  All information comes directly from the auction catalog.

First up is fully floral carved and sterling silver mounted parade saddle by Hollywood Saddlery.  The estimated price on this was $5,000 to $8,000.
Next up is a budget friendly model (ext. $2,000-$3,000) made by Keyston Bros of San Francisco.  This one features deep flower tooling in the Northern California style and sterling silver plates.
Lot #104 was a two tone brown set was by Kahle & Son of San Diego. 
This was another heavily carved saddle...
which also featured an impressive amount of sterling silver trim.
It sold with a matching bridle and martingale.  The estimated sales price was $20,000 to $30,000.
Onto the Bohlins! 
Edward H. Bohlin (1895-1980) was one of the most influential saddlemakers of the twentieth century.  He was best known for his silver mounted parade gear and related goods, and it is always a treat to see his work in person.
This particular saddle is the Ham Johns model and is built on a Miles City tree with a solid silver horn, fourteen inch swells and a four inch silver cantle. 
The estimated selling price of this set was $25,000 to $30,000.
Here's a close up look at the bottom of the serapes--those little dangle-y bits are chain.
Last but certainly not least was this Bohlin pony saddle mounted on an English rocking horse.  This would look absolutely stunning in the corner of my studio...
but with an estimated price of $15,000 to $20,000...  
Well, maybe next year!


  1. Love the Kahle & Son set!

    Which was your favourite Jennifer?

  2. Can I pay you for a cd of all of your cody old west pictures? The catalogs are really great but YOU know what a tackmaker is looking for and probably took photos accordingly..

  3. Ooooh, those are gorgeous works of art, never mind tack. Before your blog I knew exactly *nothing* about parade saddles - didn't even know they were a category of their own - so this is fascinating!

    I notice you've thrown in the towel and started using a watermark. Don't blame you, and doesn't bother me, either. You deserve credit for your work!

  4. Four Corners--It's hard to not pick a Bohlin, but I did really like the Kahle and Son. As a rule, I much prefer brown tack to black.

    Heather--Save your money. This is pretty much it as far as photos go. I can be a bit sensitive sometimes and one of the vendors really beat me up over the camera. Kind of took the wind out of my sales for the rest of the day...

    RW--Yeah, I have had my photos stolen one too many times. I don't mind so much when it's a kid or when I'm credited, but businesses and organizations should know better. Equine News Today on Facebook grabbed the Elkhorn Lodge see saw photo and posted it on their page without credit or permission. That was kind of the last straw for me. If they grab another one like that, all blog photos will be dinky. I hate to be like that but...

  5. This sounds to be an amazing blog, love it.

  6. Too bad people worry so much about people "taking" something from them. Like the bible says, those who hang on will lose and those who freely give will be blessed. Art has been whored out until the intitial joy is ruined. Too bad all of the cowboy stuff hangs on collectors walls instead of being used like it was meant to be. We are a nation of pretentous show-offs instead of the real deal any more. I could photo shop your name and copyright off of the pictures in ten seconds if I wanted to...but I don't want to. The West is all wanna-be dudes now.

  7. i have looked the web sights all over this computer for information on a parade saddle that i had purchased for 350 from an older fellar it is silver laced its theolder type and its considered an antique and its by longhorn cowboy and what i was wondered was how old this saddle could be actually i just love this saddle has a very nice seat to set could someone out there maybe have any information?

  8. Hi
    My name is Natalia and I will like to know where can I buy a parade headstall
    My email is