Keyston Bros San Francisco, Exhibition Saddle


Exquisite and historically significant, fully floral-carved pictorial saddle made by the renowned Keyston Bros of San Francisco. An elaborate, one-of-a-kind creation for exhibition in Keyston’s booth at the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939, a World’s Fair held on San Francisco’s Treasure Island to commemorate the city’s two new bridges and its Western legacy. 

The stunning, intricately carved, sterling silver-mounted saddle with gold horse heads, was crafted to celebrate and illustrate the history of the new frontier and particularly, California. Stories are told through exquisitely tooled two-tone raised pictorial scenes that adorn the entirety of the saddle. These include scenes of the Golden Gate Bridge, the California Missions & Father Junipero Serra, gold miners, Indians, the Pony Express, early pioneers and settlers who made the arduous trek west in their Conestoga wagons (prairie schooners), Buffalo Bill, Indians hunting buffalo on the prairie, sail boats on San Francisco Bay, drivers and passengers who traveled West by stagecoach, and the historic discovery of gold at Sutter Creek in 1848.

The saddle is truly a singular work of art that needs to be seen to truly be appreciated, which is only appropriate given that it was crafted specifically for exhibition.  It has resided in a private Southern California collection for many years. 

Accompanying the lot is the “Official Guide Book” from the Golden Gate International Exposition 1939. It lists the famous saddle maker on page 48 under the “EXHIBITS / VACATIONLAND” as “KEYSTON BROTHERS: A real ‘Trading Post’ with saddles and equipment.”   

Lot 265, Brian Lebel's Mesa Auction - January 21, 2017
Sold $115,000