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    Plains & Prairie Indian Art

    Appraised Value:

    $130,000 - $200,000 (2007)

    Appraised on: June 16, 2007

    Appraised in: Baltimore, Maryland

    Appraised by: Douglas Deihl

    Category: Tribal Arts

    Episode Info: Simply the Best (#1419)
    Baltimore (#1201)

    Originally Aired: January 7, 2008

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 4 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Tool, Bag
    Material: Horn, Leather, Beads
    Period / Style: 19th Century
    Value Range: $130,000 - $200,000 (2007)

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    Appraisal Video: (3:46)


    Appraised By:

    Douglas Deihl
    Tribal Arts
    Director, American Indian and Ethnographic Art
    Skinner, Inc.

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: These came down to me from my great-grandfather, who acquired them out in, uh, Nebraska. He ran the government store among the Indians from 1871 to 1873. And while he was out there, of course, he interacted with the various tribes that came through, and this is just a small sampling of the items he brought back.

    APPRAISER: I think I'll start with the trunk up on the top here. These are called parfleche trunks. Now, normally, they were in an envelope size. They would be much flatter, and they were used to store meat. A big trunk like this-- there was only a couple of groups that made these trunks, and they were more for clothing.

    GUEST: Oh.

    APPRAISER: They're made out of buffalo rawhide. The paint is probably a Chinese vermilion that was traded out onto the Plains, and a black which was probably charcoal.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: This probably dates to maybe the '30s or '40s.

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: The second piece-- they call these possible bags. You can put anything possible in them.

    GUEST: Good name.

    APPRAISER: The possible bag is basically an American Indian suitcase. It was used to store clothing and things like that. And they weren't actually worn. They were just put on the inside of a teepee or an earth lodge.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: This one is really nice because you can pinpoint-date it. It has three different style beads. It has a really fine seed bead. And then it has a size we call a real bead, and then it has the larger-sized pony beads.

    GUEST: Uh-huh.

    APPRAISER: They called pony beads pony beads because they were brought out on pack horses, ponies.

    GUEST: Okay.

    APPRAISER: And they were traded to the groups out on the Plains. This is made out of buffalo hide, and because of all these three size beads, we can date this right to about the 1840s.

    GUEST: Wow.

    APPRAISER: Then we have an elk antler quirt. These are used as a horse whip and also as a weapon. They'd clout an enemy on horseback with this.

    GUEST: Mm-hmm.

    APPRAISER: It's quite substantial.

    GUEST: Yeah.

    APPRAISER: And, uh, that has a nice trade cloth strap with some minimal beadwork and a beautiful buffalo-hide lash on it. And last, but not least, we have an elk horn scraper the women would use to clean their hides. This is a particularly nice one. These dots probably represent hides. It's a tally.

    GUEST: Oh!

    APPRAISER: It's how many hides they skinned with it.

    GUEST: Oh, for heaven's sake.

    APPRAISER: But this one has just wonderful iconography about it. And especially these military figures up here. The type of uniforms they're wearing date to the late 18th, early 19th century. It's kind of difficult to say exactly which tribe made these objects, but since he was in Nebraska, the Pawnee were in Nebraska, the Iowa were near there, and the Sac-Fox were near there. I have to tell you, in the ten years I've been doing Antiques Roadshow, these are the finest things I've ever seen.

    GUEST: Really?

    APPRAISER: Yeah, they're absolutely beautiful.

    GUEST: I'm so thrilled, I'm so thrilled.

    APPRAISER: Starting with the parfleche trunk, I would put an auction value of about $20,000 to $30,00 on this.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness. (laughs)

    APPRAISER: The possible bag-- I'm going to put $30,000 to $50,000 on this.

    GUEST: Mmm.

    APPRAISER: The elk horn quirt, which is one of the finest ones I've ever seen-- I'm going to put $30,000 to $50,000 on that.

    GUEST: Oh, my goodness. Oh!

    APPRAISER: The scraper is a masterpiece. This is the finest elk horn scraper I've ever seen.

    GUEST: Mmm.

    APPRAISER: And conservatively, I'm going to put an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 on it.

    GUEST: Oh, my word. I'm just... I'm just blown away, I really am. That's wonderful.

    APPRAISER: So, just these four pieces, I would conservatively say $130,000 to $200,000.

    GUEST: Well, they're real treasures, and...

    APPRAISER: They are absolutely treasures.

    GUEST: And I'm so pleased that we have retained them and they can be passed down through the generations.

    APPRAISER: I'm glad you have, too.

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