Navajo first phase blanket to reach $500,000 among Native American art

A Navajo first phase Ute-style chief's blanket will lead Bonhams' December 9 sale of Native American Art in San Francisco with an estimate of $300,000-500,000.

Navajo blankets were identical to those of the Pueblo people up until 1820, when they began making what are now known as first phase blankets.

They consist of simple bands of white, blue, red and brown stripes and are extremely rare - with less than 50 surviving to this day.

Navajo first phase
The blankets often change hands for
large sums

In 2012, a first phase blanket sold for $1.5m against an estimate of $100,000-200,000 at Skinner.

A selection of other examples of Native American weaving are on offer including a women's manta, described being among the best of its type, with an estimate of $80,000-120,000.

A 2000 year old fossilised walrus-ivory head will be another major highlight of the sale, valued at $150,000-250,000.  

Discovered by the current inhabitants of St Lawrence Island, who are consigning three items to auction, the head dates from the Okvik period (200BC-100AD) - an era defined by the distinctly elaborate, zoomorphic style of its artefacts.   

A second carved head will feature along with a pair of wooden snow goggles.

A plains shield and two covers, decorated with thunderbirds, will carry an estimate of $150,000-200,000.

The auction will also offer work by contemporary Native American artists, including bronzes by Apache artist Allan Houser.

We have this authentic strand of hair from famed Apache leader Geronimo.

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