Karl’s of Seattle was owned by Karl L. Raab who employed one of the premier silversmiths on the west coast, Don Ellis (1913-1969), to manufacture mountings for their coveted line of parade saddles. Don grew up in Seattle where he was a self-taught silversmith and engraver. During his younger years as a rodeo rider, Don created his first rodeo trophy buckle for Ellensburg, Washington rodeo events. By the 1940s he was making silver saddles as well as gold and silver buckles. In the early 1950s Don created the lavish gold and silver presentation buckles for the Rodeo Cowboy Association and completed his crowning achievement, the Wes Williams’ saddle that is on display at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Don is often referred to as the “Ed Bohlin of the Pacific Northwest” when, in fact, his exquisite style of engraving met or exceeded the best that the renowned Hollywood Saddle Maker to the Stars ever had to offer.
Lot 7: Karl’s, Washington State, Parade Saddle with Don Ellis Silver Mountings.
Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - June 11, 2016