Forrest Fenn’s Native American collection was a crowd-pleaser at Hindman
CINCINNATI – Legendary Santa Fe, New Mexico dealer Forrest Fenn’s collection was met with energetic bidding in Hindman Auctions’ June 9 sale, achieving $876,313 and a robust 95 percent sell-through rate. Bidders were clearly excited by this distinguished collection, with beadwork and Plains material leading the offering.
Fenn was internationally recognized for his hidden treasure, but even more so for his Western and Native American art. Fenn’s collection exemplifies both a lifetime of passion for the category, while also demonstrating his fervor for exploration and history.
“We are delighted with the reception that the first portion of the collection received. It was wonderful to hear all the stories that collectors had about Fenn – there are no shortages of them,” said Hindman’s Vice President for Native American Art, Danica Farnand. “We are looking forward to the fall auction, and hope to hear even more tales of Forrest.”
Fenn’s beadwork stole the show, with bidders eagerly competing for strike-a-light pouches, tobacco bags and dolls. Leading the offering of dolls was a Crow beaded doll that sold for $13,750 against an estimate of $3,000-$6,000. Fenn noted in his book Historic American Indian Dolls that the 14in doll was made more special with its knife sheath housing a bone knife with the handle in the form of an owl. A pair of Cheyenne beaded hide dolls were also strong performers, selling for $8,750, as well as a Western Apache beaded hide doll, which sold for $8,125 against an estimate of $5,000-$7,000. Also, an early Southern Plains hide doll soared well past its $1,000-$1,500 estimate to earn $5,938.
Hopi katsina dolls were also well received by bidders. Noteworthy sales included a three-horned katsina, which sold for $12,500 against an estimate of $2,000-$4,000. A Hemis katsina climbed well past its $3,000-$5,000 estimate to achieve $10,625.
Fenn was renowned for his epic wall of strike-a-light and tobacco bags. Emerging as the top lot of the assortment was a Sioux beaded pictorial tobacco bag, which more than doubled its estimate to achieve $18,750. Other top performers included a Sioux Elk Dreamer quilled hide tobacco bag, which realized $11,250 against an estimate of $4,000-$6,000, and a selection of Kiowa beaded strike-a-light bags, with two selling for $9,375 and one selling for $10,625.
Auction highlights also included a Sioux twisted pipe stem with Catlinite bowl, believed to belong to Sitting Bull, which sold for $125,000 against an estimate of $60,000-$80,000; a unique Sioux Grizzly Bear claw necklace, which exceeded its $40,000-$60,000 estimate to attain $75,000; and a Pueblo buffalo hide shield, which sold for $27,500 compared to an estimate of $10,000-$20,000. A Missouri River figural ball club and a Walpi polychrome pottery storage jar were among the additional highlights, selling for $22,500 and $21,250, respectively.
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