A fabulous pair of 100% original Tom Qualey spurs, purchased directly from Tom by the consignor's father in the 1950s (his initials, “KAB” are stamped on the off-side). A large and impressive pair, they have 30-point rowels and "Qualey" inscribed in script on the inside of the heel band. Split heelbands with double buttons, splayed shank ends and fully engraved on one side, half on the other. Rare and highly collectible.
Lot 231, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 20, 2017, Mesa, AZ.
Tom Qualey (1904-1977)
Knut Qualey came from Norway as a blacksmith in 1900 to live in Idaho. He homesteaded a ranch on Joseph Plains, Idaho, and raised his nine children after his wife died in 1915. His sons Jens, Tom, Nels and Olaf would reshape old farm tools or wagon wheel rims into bits and spurs, with Tom being the most talented. In 1920, Tom and Nels began making bits and spurs in their spare time at the ranch, marking them “Qualey Bros.” In 1942 the ranch was sold and Nels stopped silversmithing.
Beginning in 1944, Tom, working solo, made pieces marking them “Qualey”. Most of these were sold by either Ray Holes or through Miller Hardware in Grangeville. Tom was a master engraver, who, according to saddle maker Ray Holes, was unequaled in his ability to do precision engraving, using only a forge, hammer, hacksaw and file.