Strength of Western art market was validated at Lebel’s Santa Fe show

Western art

A tremendous variety of Western and Native art and antiques graced this room display created by Joe Fionda of Lufkin, Texas. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

SANTA FE, N.M. – Visitors from throughout the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, Germany, Belgium and Japan converged on New Mexico’s state capital over the weekend of June 23-25 for the sole purpose of shopping at Brian Lebel’s incomparable Cody Old West Show & Auction, now in its 33rd year.

The buy, sell and trade event, with an auction on Day 2, featured high-quality Western, cowboy and Native American art and antiques at a wide variety of price points

Approximately 100 vendors and exhibitors from 18 states displayed an exceptional variety of Western Americana – from antique to contemporary – with ample selections at all price points. The array of premium-quality merchandise included fine art and antiques, collectibles, Western apparel, Native American artifacts, jewelry, horse tack, Hollywood memorabilia, home furnishings and much more.

Western art

Studded jackets and hand-beaded vests were among the tempting items of vintage apparel offered by Lucky Star Gallery of Reno, Nevada. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

The Old West Show has always been known for its premier dealers, and this year was no exception. The 2023 roster included such noted businesses as Manitou Galleries (Cheyenne, Wyo.), Toh-Atin Gallery (Durango, Colo.), Territorial Indian Arts (Scottsdale, Ariz.), and John Molloy Gallery (New York City); and an all-star lineup of specialty dealers that included Joe Fionda (Lufkin, Texas), Mary Nyholm-Vidano (Niwot, Colo.) and Flying Tiger Antiques (Apache Junction, Ariz.). A number of well-established Santa Fe dealers also set up at this year’s event. They included Sherwoods Spirit of America, James Compton Gallery, Brant Mackley Gallery, Turkey Mountain Traders, and Rio Bravo Trading.

Western art

Textiles are a specialty of Toh-Atin Gallery of Durango, Colorado. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

Attendance was strong on all three days, with more than 1,000 visitors passing through the doors of the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. It was especially busy on the Friday, which was early-entry day. Guests were eager for a first look and first opportunity to buy from the show’s blue-chip vendors. Many of the early-bird shoppers returned on consecutive days to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. “And we had the usual rush of Sunday afternoon bargain hunters, who were just as happy as the dealers whose loads they helped to lighten,” said show founder Brian Lebel.

Western art

An attractive display of contemporary kachinas. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

“All of the dealers I spoke to were thrilled with their weekend sales and many signed up on the spot for the January 2024 Old West Show in Las Vegas,” Lebel continued. “A few of them told me it was the best show they ever had, and many said they personally bought almost as much as they sold. I love to hear that, because whenever there are heavy dealer-to-dealer sales, it means vendors have brought a lot of fresh, high-end merchandise.”

Western art

Left to right: Old West Events founder Brian Lebel, his wife and business partner Melissa McCracken, Morphy Auctions Firearms Acquisitions & Promotions specialist Cheryl Goyda, and Dan Morphy, president and founder of Morphy Auctions, parent company of the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show. Morphy conducted the live auction on Day 2 of the event, with remote bidders taking part from all over the world through LiveAuctioneers. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

In addition to the brisk action on the sales floor, Lebel observed a pleasing diversity among the shoppers. “Every year we notice more and more young people coming to our shows. It’s especially gratifying to see younger folks taking the time to talk to the dealers and learn about their merchandise. It says to me that their interest is more than just a passing fad, that they have a genuine interest in the material.”

Western art

Art and artifacts displayed by Blue Heron Gallery of Fallbrook, California. Image courtesy of Brian Lebel’s Old West Events

On Day 2, Lebel’s team and the crew from Morphy Auctions of Denver, Pa., collaborated to produce an outstanding auction of Western and Native American relics that took in $922,500. The top lot was an Edward H Bohlin silver saddle, shown below, which sold for $50,820.

Western art

Fine circa-1930s Edward H. Bohlin sterling silver parade saddle with outstanding leather and silver carving, and silver conchos. Provenance: H.C. Lewis Collection; Butterfield & Butterfield 1989 auction; Guess Jeans collection; Tucson, Arizona, private collection. Sold in the auction held on Day 2 of the 3-day event for an above-high-estimate price of $50,820. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions

To enquire about an exhibitor space at Brian Lebel’s January 26-27, 2024 Cody Old West Show & Auction, which will be held in tandem with Morphy’s Las Vegas Antique Arms Show at the Westgate Resort & Casino, call Cheryl Goyda at 877-968-8880 ext. 755 or email cheryl.goyda@morphyauctions.com. To discuss consigning to the onsite auction, call Dan Morphy at Morphy Auctions, 877-968-8880 or email info@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com or www.antiquearmsshow.com.

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