Ute Doll Cradle, ca. 1890

Value (2003) | $8,000 Auction$20,000 Insurance

It's a ceremonial cradleboard that my grandfather got, uh... quite a number of years ago. And at the time, it was said to be 100 years old, so it's probably now 150 years old.

Where was he when he got it, do you know?

Well, my best guess is he was probably somewhere in Washington, either Yakima or Naches. He left Toledo, Illinois, as a 16-year-old boy, and he traveled west and settled in Naches. My mother said it came from a tribe in Montana, but I don't know that for sure.

Well, actually, it's a doll cradle. It's the biggest doll cradle I've ever seen. They would have put children in cradles like this, but they would have been, you know, this much bigger. And they would have been beaded like this. They're not really ceremonial. It's just something that the tribe did because they valued their children so highly. I suspect this is Ute from Northern Colorado. It could be Shoshone Bannock, which would be Montana area. It's from the reservation period. There's not a lot of hide on this cradle, it's mostly cloth. But hides were hard to get. All of a sudden cloth became the commodity. After this, they got back into hides. The reason I think it may be Ute is... is this piece of cloth right here.


It's a Navajo Germantown saddle blanket that's been cut down. It dates to about 1880, early 1890s. So does the cradle. The doll is... typical Indian doll. I didn't take it all apart to see if she's dressed up in beaded clothes. "Let the next guy do it" is what we always say. What do you think it's worth?

Well, if I had to guess, it would probably be $500.

Well, I'll write you a check after the show. ( both laughing ) This is a desirable piece, especially because it's child-related and it's a cradleboard. 8,000.


You know... ( laughing ) On a... on a good day, maybe 12,000.

Wow. What about insurance value, because I don't think I'm planning to get rid of it?

Oh, $15,000 or $20,000 to replace it, easy.

Good grief. ( both chuckle ) You don't know what you have laying around the house, do you?

No, you don't.

Appraisal Details

San Antonio, TX
Appraised value (2003)
$8,000 Auction$20,000 Insurance
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)
19th Century
Beads, Cloth

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