The lot features an excellent authentic original cowrie shell beaded woman’s dress from the Sioux Native American Indians and dating to circa 1880-1890. Provenance: From a Historic & Important Museum quality private collection in Billings, Montana (from the same collection as one of the most important and valuable war shirts ever sold at public sale). The piece has been examined by a Native American artifact expert and was found to be an authentic original dress dating to the late 19th Century. The dress shows an early dark blue trade clothe construction with early glass trade seed beaded strips on Indian tanned hide along each shoulder and down the arm. The top section of the dress shows over 250 cowrie or cowry shells on each side and a single row of cowrie shells framing the bottom. The bottom of the skirt is also framed in several rows of early trade silk like ribbon adorned with round brass disk having a seed bead at the center along with a row of braided gold presentation fringe. The left and right edge of the skirt show a four inch by six-and-a-half-inch drop area with additional shells, fringe, and ribbons. The edge of the dresses sleeves, or cuffs show two ribbon rows with one having the brass disk accents being adorned with seed beads. The over 500 cowrie / cowry wampum shells adorning this excellent dress are held together with and internal Indian tanned hide sewing. The dress shows an impressive good condition for its early age with no major damage (no visible rips or holes). The dress measures 56 3/4" long from the top of the shoulders, to the bottom of the waist, and 56 1/2" wide from the tips of each sleeve. This is truly an exquisite original dress showing fine condition. Similar Cowry beaded dresses have sold at Brian Lebel’s Old West Events 6/27/2009 auction for $5,700 and Altermann Galleries & Auctioneers 8/17/2006 auction for $5,175 (both with premiums).