The war shirt of the Native American leader Chief Joseph sold strongly at the 2012 Coeur d'Alene Art Auction on Saturday (June 21), with a huge increase in value since it was last offered in May.
The beaded shirt sold for $877,500, showing a 9.6% increase on its $800,000-1.2m estimate. Since its last sale, where it sold for $482,500 at Sotheby's Native American Art sale on May 16, it has risen in value by 81.8% - a particularly dramatic increase in just two months.
Considered one of the most important Native American artefacts ever offered at auction, the shirt can be seen in a painting of Chief Joseph that currently hangs in the Smithsonian Institution. Created in 1878 by Cyrenius Hall, the portrait would later be used for a US postage stamp bearing Joseph's face. The shirt can also be seen in the earliest known photograph of the Nez Perce leader, which was taken in 1877.
The sale comes amid a series of recent successes for Native American items at auction, which have been highlighted by the world record breaking price achieved by a Navajo textile in June. Similarly, important pieces from America's wild west have also met with strong results, with the most important extant revolver of Buffalo Bill selling for $239,000 at Heritage Auctions on June 10.
We are currently offering customers the chance to join this booming market with a fantastic keepsake from the Battle of Little Bighorn - the signature of George Armstrong Custer. We also have an authentic strand of hair from the Apache leader Geronimo, which is perfect for framing and makes an excellent gift.