Comanche Moccasins, ca. 1880

Value (2004) | $20,000 Auction$25,000 Auction

APPRAISER:
I look at a lot of moccasins on the ROADSHOW, but this pair's special. How long have you had them?

GUEST:
Over 50 years. They were given to me by an aunt when I was a small boy, and I don't know where she got them. I don't know how old they are or where they came from.

APPRAISER:
Well, beaded moccasins are fairly plentiful in the market. You'll see a lot of white-background moccasins from the Central Plains area. This particular pair is from the Southern Plains, which is much, much rarer. Probably for every 5,000 pairs from the Central Plains there's one pair of fully beaded mocs from the Southern Plains.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
They have a beautiful wine-red background color right here, which is called Kiowa red. It was used by the Kiowa, the Comanche, the Wichita, some of the other southern groups. They also have heel fringe. That was a very typical Southern Plains characteristic of moccasins. These moccasins were probably made in about the 1880s. And the Comanche and the Kiowa, they were on the reservation in Oklahoma at that time, but formerly they had roamed all over Texas and into New Mexico. So these were probably reservation Indians at that time. Early reservation. I do believe these are Comanche rather than Kiowa, which is even rarer. The Kiowa are very rare, but Comanche fully beaded moccasins are even rarer. They're in mint condition. The only other pairs I've seen like this looked like they were worn, and this pair doesn't look like it was ever worn. They could have been made for the market to sell, but I have never seen a pair like this that looked this good that was made to sell. And I think at auction a pair like this would easily bring $20,000 to $25,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my Lord.

APPRAISER:
For a comparable Central Plains pair probably $1,000 to $1,500, but these are absolutely very special.

GUEST:
They've been sitting on my shelf.

APPRAISER:
They've been sitting on your shelf?

GUEST:
Actually I used to wear them when I was boy.

APPRAISER:
You might want to put them in a case now.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Skinner, Inc.
Appraised value (2004)
$20,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
Event
Portland, OR (August 21, 2004)
Period
19th Century
Form
Moccasin
Material
Beads, Leather

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