Lakota Sioux Doctor's Bag, ca. 1895
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
Antiques Appraiser and Consultant
GUEST: We live in the Black Hills in South Dakota. My parents ran a private museum and a Wild West show. And my dad was born in Deadwood, South Dakota, in 1908, grew up in Deadwood. Apparently some Lakota, Native American ancestry on his mother's side. A lot of the Native people would bring him pieces that they wanted preserved, that they were afraid would be lost in their family and things like that. So to the best of my knowledge, that's where this came from.
APPRAISER: Okay, this is a Lakota bag, and it is a doctor's bag. And as you can see, it's beaded on all sides.
APPRAISER: What's a bit unusual is a lot of the bags are white background, and this is a blue background. I want to show how this opens, and as you can see, it has a trade cloth lining on the inside.
GUEST: Is that what that is, the stripe?
APPRAISER: Yeah, absolutely.
GUEST: I didn't know.
APPRAISER: Now, there are a couple of ways that we can date this. If you look right here in the center, these are metal-cut beads. Now, metal-cut beads really date into the 1890s. So this bag is 1885, 1890. And it's not thread, it's sinew. Again, that's one of the ways that we date Native American material. One other thing that is an issue of condition, and I don't know whether you can see this or not, but do you see this area here?
GUEST: Yeah, I think there's another little small spot near the bottom.
APPRAISER: Exactly, you have a few areas that need to be repaired. Now, that does impact on value.
APPRAISER: Obviously, right now, the economic times, you're going to see slightly lower prices than you might have seen, say, a year ago.
APPRAISER: Two years ago in auction, there was one that sold in Cincinnati with a white background and flags for $3,000. I have seen a blue one with a blue background being offered in the past year in a gallery for $6,500.
APPRAISER: A lot of collectors would look at this, and because it has this blue background and because it's basically really in great shape...
APPRAISER:...it would be highly desirable for them. And you have almost this transition from Native American into the early settlers in the West.
APPRAISER: And you have the blending of those two cultures
GUEST: Yeah, it's fascinating.
APPRAISER: right in this bag.
APPRAISER: And I think that's terrific. What I want to do is I want to give you a realistic value, and I think you can use this for insurance.
APPRAISER: In a gallery, I think you would expect to see this sell for between $5,000 and $7,000.
GUEST: I'm... I'm flabbergasted. For a thing that was just commonplace to me growing up. It was just a family item. That's quite a shock.
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