Collectibles linked to America's Native American population could warrant a much closer look in 2012. Recent sales have included two big successes for George Catlin.
Catlin, an American painter, author and traveller, specialised in portraits of American Indians in the Old West in the 19th century.
Ketterer Kunst's two day sale of Rare Books in Hamburg in November 2011 offered Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio.
The resultant bidding race saw the Portfolio double its starting price of €45,000 with a final result of €87,600. It sold to a German collector: evidence of the growing appeal of Native American collectibles around the world.
Then, the following month, Catlin enjoyed yet further posthumous auction success at Sotheby's. His artwork "Interior of a Mandan Lodge" made a whopping $1.5m in December 2011.
These were big sales. But the good news is, because Native American collectibles are a relatively untapped market, you have a chance to acquire pieces at relative bargain values. That is, until more collectors get involved and push values up.
Potential bargains out there include some at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries' first sale of 2012. Based in Maine, US, the sale takes place on January 28-29. Online bidding is also available.
Rare collectibles in the sale include this covered Northwest Indian bowl, understood to have been carved by either the Tlingit or Haida tribes.
The Tlingit are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America; while the Haida people are an indigenous people of British Columbia, Canada and British North America.
A rare Tlingit 'mosquito mask' sold for $365,000 at a Christie's auction in December of last year.
Meanwhile, this wooden effigy figure bowl depicts a squatting animal with a man clenched in its teeth. Its design also features various hand symbols. According to Thomaston Place's lot notes, the bowl measures 13" x 24" x 9 1/2".
Its condition is described as "worn" and, intriguingly, the effigy's lower face has been slightly scorched.
Bids for the bowl will open at just $1,000 with a high estimate of $3,000 - a great example of a lower-valued Native American collectible which is at your disposal.
Even better, if your budget doesn't stretch to $1,000 then we have a great alternative for you here at Paul Fraser Collectibles.
In fact, our collectible arguably brings you closer to the Wild West than Thomaston Place's bowl - and our piece is priced at just £49.95.
The collectible in question is a hair from the head of the legendary Geronimo. Geronimo - "one who yawns" - lead one of the last major forces of independent Native American warriors against the US's occupation of the American West.
His life was immortalised in the 1939 film Geronimo. You can find out more about his hair for sale by following this link.