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An extraordinary, large Navajo tufa-cast silver belt buckle circa 1890-1900,

ex: Teal McKibben Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Pieces such as these today are literally as rare as hen’s teeth. They have almost completely disappeared from the market and are now seen almost exclusively in Museums or in honored places in the old “connoisseur” collections of longtime Indian Traders and early jewelry collectors. This buckle came from precisely such a collection, that of the renowned dealer in and collector of historic Navajo and Pueblo jewelry, the late Teal McKibben of Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose Canyon Road shop “La Bodega” was, for decades, the first must-go-to stop in Santa Fe for any serious collector of early Southwestern jewelry.

This buckle owes absolutely not one whit to commercial or modern concerns. It was handcrafted at the turn of the 19th-20th Century using completely traditional methods and traditional materials by a Navajo silversmith for a Navajo customer, traded for sheep, tobacco or hides and subsequently worn every day for decades until ultimately being traded or sold. The wear and surface patina of the piece tells this story most eloquently.

The buckle measures 3 5/8” in width and 3 1/4” in height and it weighs 69 grams or 2 3/8 ounces. It is in excellent original condition with the patina and wear of well over a century of dedicated use. This is a rare and historic piece to be appreciated, worn and treasured forever.

Price $3,600

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