California Saddle, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:14)
Director, American Indian and Ethnographic Art
GUEST: My aunt had bought it from a friend, somewhere between 40 and 50 years ago.
APPRAISER: Did you ride it when you were a kid?
GUEST: No, I never did. We always were kind of promised that someday the horse would be there and we'd get to ride my Aunt Ruthie's saddle, but it wasn't really a riding saddle.
APPRAISER: Well, that's actually very good that you didn't ride it. Do you know anything about it, its history, where it was made?
GUEST: I really don't know any history other than what we could tell of the maker's mark. My aunt was living in North Dakota when she purchased it.
APPRAISER: Okay, it's a beautiful saddle, but it's a long way from the Dakotas. It's actually a classic early California-style saddle.
APPRAISER: This was the type of saddle that the Spanish Californians were using from the 1830s, right up to when this country took it over. It has a maker's mark, and it's very hard to decipher, but I was able to get "San Francisco" and "Makers."
APPRAISER: Stylistically, this is a Mexican-style saddle, made in Winchester. It was probably the only early-California saddle maker at this period. This is an 1850s saddle.
APPRAISER: Before that, they wouldn't have been marked with a maker's mark. There's been some damage. Was the horn silver when you got it?
GUEST: As far as I can remember, it was. I'm a little suspicious, because the gentleman that made the base that they were on for quite a few years has some silver paint on it, too.
APPRAISER: Oh, really, on the base.
GUEST: On the side you're on, I believe.
APPRAISER: Yes, and the stirrups have been painted silver, too.
APPRAISER: Those could be original. It's hard to say. I'd have to do some study on that.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: But, you know, the paint needs to come off.
APPRAISER: It's got its original cinch, which is really rare for this period of saddle.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: It's a beautiful early California-style saddle, and probably, in this condition, unrestored, I think at auction it would probably bring about $5,000.
APPRAISER: But I think if you fixed it up, and it wouldn't take much doing-- get the paint off of it, there's a little separation of the rawhide cantle-- restored, a $10,000 saddle.
GUEST: Really. Wow. That's great. Thank you. I didn't expect you to say it was going to be worth that kind of money.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.