A rare Plains Indian beaded shirt used by a Western family when travelling the Oregon Trail will sell as part of a Boston, Massachusetts auction of American Indian and Ethnographic Art, which will be held on February 9.
The shirt is expected to sell for $80,000-120,000 as the lead lot of the sale. Also featuring is the collection of Joseph J Rivera, a renowned Native American art dealer from Santa Fe's Morning Star Gallery, which offers antiques from more than 50 North American tribes.
The shirt bears the initials of Eugene Burr, son of David H Burr, who had been appointed as the first surveyor general to the state of Utah. The family travelled west along the Oregon Trail to Utah in 1855, though Eugene died in 1857 aged just 17. It is thought the Burrs may have acquired the shirt along the Trail or in Utah.
A mid-19th century piece, the shirt is made from rare Plains pony hide, with seed beads and quilled hide as decoration. It will be sold alongside a pair of pony hide beaded trousers, also inscribed with Eugene's initials, which are expected to make $6,000-8,000.
Beaded shirts, such as the example at auction, are among some of the most sought after Native American textiles, with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce's war shirt seeing an increase in value of 81.8% in just two months during 2012.
Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering an authentic strand of hair from Geronimo, the famed Apache leader who is immortalised in the 1939 film. The piece comes with exceptional provenance, having been part of the collection of Margaretta Pierrepont, wife of Ulysses S Grant.