There’s a wonderful exhibit at the AQHA Hall of Fame in Amarillo Texas that’s coming to a close at the end of July. If you’re going to be anywhere close to Texas, you’ll want to make the detour to check it out.
The exhibit is called “Art of the Western Saddle: A Celebration of Design, Style and Grace.”Â The exhibits looks specifically at the silver saddles and the wonderful artistry of the saddle silversmiths.
If you can’t make it to the exhibit you don’t have to miss out. The AQHA has published what they call a catalog, but it’s much more than that. It’s 60 pages of wonderful history with stunning photographs and well-researched history about the genre and each saddle showcased.
A limited number of the catalogs are available for sale, but you can download a PDF version for free.
AQHA’s Art of the Western Saddle Catalog
Many, many people email us asking if we can help them identify the maker of their antique saddle and determine it’s value. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to provide that service. What we can, and do, tell folks is that there are tons of antique saddles out there and very few have any collector value.
This month’s issue (November 2008) of Western Horseman, confirms our comments in a short feature called “Decorative vs. Collectible Value.”
Traditional Cowboy Arts Association saddlemaker and antique-gear expert Chuck Stormes, says that thousands of saddles from the early 1900′s still survive, but most are of little collectible value.
“A famous maker, historically important owner, or an outstanding example of craftsmanship is what makes a saddle a collectible piece,” he explains, adding that an old saddle will retain more value if it’s in original condition and with all the original parts.”
While this information may be disappointing to some, many others understand that antique western saddles are pieces of art and Americana that have an inherent value for the owner. Just enjoy the wonderful craftsmanship and imagine the life they’ve lived.