Blackfoot Indian beaded shirt valued at up to $175,000

A Blackfoot Plains Indian beaded and painted antelope hide shirt will auction at Skinner in Boston.

The lot is valued at $125,000-175,000 ahead of the February 6 sale of the Van Kirke and Helen Nelson collection.

Blackfoot indian shirt
The shirt is of exceptional quality

It dates to around 1870 and displays a motif of tadpoles and bird tracks.

The bright blocks of colour formed by thousands of minute beads show off the exceptional skill of the Blackfeet craftspeople.

Other lots include a Blackfoot beaded buffalo hide sheath and dag knife, which is expected to realise $25,000-35,000.

Dag knives were viciously effective in hand-to-hand combat. The present lot uses brass tacks for decoration and was probably ceremonial.

Skinner explained the origins of the extraordinary collection: "Van Kirke Nelson was a USC college student working as a camp counselor on the shores of Flathead Lake [Montana] when he discovered the West—its wildness, its history, and its people.

"Over the next seven decades, he and his wife Helen undertook a serious lifelong study of the diverse cultures and histories represented by the art, artifacts and Americana they collected.

"While the Nelsons, as Montana residents, emphasized material from the Blackfeet and Crow tribes, their collection encompasses fine examples from a broad cross-section of Plains and Plateau American Indian material culture."

We have an authentic strand of legendary Apache chief Geronimo's hair for sale, click here to take a look.

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