Turner Auctions + Appraisals presents authentic Navajo, Zuni items July 30


Navajo concho silver and turquoise belt, Southwest old pawn, approximate belt size 52 in. Estimate: $2,000-3,000. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – On Sunday, July 30, Turner Auctions + Appraisals will present over 200 lots of Southwest jewelry and sculpture – Part 4 of the private collection from the vault of a major Southern California dealer/collector. Absentee and Internet live bidding in this online-only auction is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Jewelry offerings – many old pawn items hand-crafted of heavy, solid sterling or coin silver and embellished with gem-quality turquoise or coral stones, hardstone or coins – feature works from the Navajo and Zuni. Most were crafted by talented artists. Many pieces include the maker’s mark.


Eight-piece sterling silver and turquoise Old Pawn Navajo jewelry set by Vernon Begay consisting of a squash blossom necklace, pair of matching cuff bracelets, pair of matching rings, pair of matching earrings and a matching brooch. All stamped sterling and with the maker’s mark, ‘VB.’ Estimate: $2,000-3,000. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


Among the exceptional range of items are cuff, Mexican silver and other bracelets; squash blossom and heishi necklaces and sets; concho belts; belt buckles; watch cuffs and watch bands; Western belt buckles; men’s and women’s rings; decorative silver items; jewelry items; hat bands; and several jeweler’s groups of miscellaneous turquoise in varying shapes and sizes.



Two old pawn Southwest inlay and silver Zuni cuff bracelets. Both with maker’s marks. Estimate: $400-600. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


This sale presents some of the premier pieces of the entire five-part collection, which was carefully amassed over more than 30 years with the goal of acquiring the finest examples of handwork available.

The owner, who grew up in the Southwest in the 1950s, was a major dealer and collector of Navajo, Zuni and Hopi jewelry in Southern California for over 30 years. From the mid-1970s to the early 2000s, he operated a retail business that sold vintage, contemporary and custom Southwest jewelry to movie studios, prop and costume houses, and collectors. All auction items are “from the vault” – ones that were reserved for personal use or set aside for future appreciation. Everything in the collection is original and handmade. None of the pieces has color-enhanced stones, or are plated with silver or nickel.



Navajo silver eagle kachina sculpture, maker’s mark ‘RL,’ 6-1/4 inches high. Estimate: $700-900. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


The items in the collection range from the 1950s to about 1990, plus ones from the 1920s and 1930s during the “Harvey House period.” Jewelry in the collection was acquired in Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada from the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi – each with a distinctive style. Many of the Native American jewelry makers for Harvey House were farmers who, during down time in the winter, made jewelry for shops to supplement their income. Other items were acquired from the makers themselves or their families. Some were obtained through trading posts or itinerant sellers; that is, representatives of various tribes who would stop at dealers to show and sell new wares. Other inventory was obtained from the vault of Tobe Turpen Jr., a longtime trader who sold his Gallup, New Mexico, store in the mid-1990s. Some were obtained from trading posts and reservation pawn shops. Many Native Americans, having nowhere to store their valuables, would go to pawn shops near their reservations for items’ safekeeping, then redeem them later on. Some items became “old pawn” – items sold after they had gone to pawn and were not redeemed, for one reason or another.



Old pawn Southwest turquoise and coral sterling silver Native American cuff bracelet, approximately 5 1/2 inches long, approximate total weight: 360 grams, marked sterling. Estimate: $500-700. Turner Auctions + Appraisals image


For more information about the auction, contact Turner Auctions + Appraisals 415-964-5250 / sturner@turnerauctionsonline.com.