Borein Watercolor Brings Top Dollar at Lebel's Mesa Old West Auction

The top lot at Brian Lebel’s Mesa Old West Auction was an action-packed watercolor by cowboy artist Edward Borein that realized $76,700 in front of a packed house at the 28th annual sale. 

MESA, AZ – 305 auction lots crossed the block on Saturday evening, January 20th at Brian Lebel’s Mesa Old West Auction, held live at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa in Mesa, Ariz. Total live sales topped $1.1 million, with an impressive 94.3% sell-through rate. The auction opened to a standing room only crowd of approximately 600 people, with additional bidders on 2 Internet platforms and a busy phone bank, as well as brisk absentee bidding.   

The top seller of the night was lot 139, an Edward Borein watercolor that sold for $76,700, firmly within its $65,000 – 85,000 presale estimate. Lebel’s auctions traditionally do extremely well with Borein’s work, and hold a number of auction sales records for the artist. A smaller watercolor by the artist brought $12,980. The second highest selling lot was lot 201, a shirt, leggings and moccasins outfit that belonged to famed Apache Chief and Geronimo’s nephew, Asa Daklugie, which brought $56,050 to an absentee bidder.

LD Stone Saddle

Continuing the recent trend, cowboy material was very strong. A Bohlin Rose Parade silver parade saddle that once belonged to Bob Tanner brought more than its high estimate of $40,000 realizing $47,200 to a determined phone bidder. Miniature saddles did exceptionally well, with the one-of-a-kind L.D. Stone salesman sample-sized saddle that almost doubled its low estimate, ultimately realizing $44,250 to a floor bidder in the room. The highly anticipated set of Duff Severe salesman sample-sized saddles that had once been displayed at the Smithsonian realized $26,550.

Salesman sample saddles were not the only popular miniatures of the evening. A group of three Roy Luttrell miniature wagons each brought more than 4 times their high estimates of $4,000, selling for $18,800, $20,060 and $21,240 each after fast-paced bidding between a floor bidder and an absentee bidder. They were the runaway items of the night, resulting in a round of applause from the packed room.  

Hollywood cowboys did well, with a Matt Dillon “Gunsmoke” used Colt Single Action bringing $24,780 to a floor bidder, which was more than twice its low estimate of $10,000. Monte Hale’s Colt Single Action realized $9,440, almost 8 times its low estimate of $1,200. Who says the old Hollywood cowboys have been forgotten?

Auction owner, Brian Lebel is pleased with the results. “I am thrilled to see that cowboy material continues to sell well,” says Lebel. “This business is always changing, but it’s heartening to know that great material still sells for great prices. We say that all the time in our business, but it’s nice to be reminded that it’s true.”


The Old West Show saw record-breaking crowds on Saturday, and brisk dealer and early-buy-in sales on Friday. Vendors were extremely happy, and there were numerous reports of nearly sold-out booths and six-figure sales. Next year’s Mesa Event dates are January 26, 2019 for the Auction and Jan 26-27 for the Mesa Old West Show. The June Cody Old West Show & Auction will celebrate its 29th annual event this June 23-24, 2018 at its new venue in Santa Fe, NM at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Visit for details.

(all prices include buyer’s premium)

Two Borein Bucking Bronco Watercolors to Cross the Auction Block at Lebel’s January Mesa Auction

The 2018 Western art and antiques event season kicks-off with Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction, January 20-21, 2018 in Mesa, AZ, featuring over 180 weekend show dealers, and over 300 live auction lots, including two fine watercolors by the western master, Edward Borein. 

Edward Borein, A Bucking Bronco, Watercolor , 8 3/4" x 13 1/4" 

Edward Borein, A Bucking Bronco, Watercolor , 8 3/4" x 13 1/4" 

Mesa, AZ – 300-plus lots will cross the block on Saturday night, January 20th, at Brian Lebel’s annual Western Americana auction of authentic art, antiques and artifacts. Formerly known as the “High Noon Show & Auction,” the weekend event also includes a two-day dealer show and sale that hosts over 180 vendors in cowboy, American Western and Native American art, antiques and design.

In the fine art category, the auction features works by both contemporary and deceased western artists, including a number of etchings, and two watercolors by the famous California painter, Ed Borein. Lebel’s auction holds a number of sales records for art by Borein, and hopes to continue that trend with the catalog cover lot, an action-packed Borein bucking horse that Lebel feels, “is among the very best Borein watercolors we’ve ever handled.” (est. $65-85,000). Other fine artists in the 2018 sale include Roseta Santiago, Mehl Lawson, A. Leslie Ross, Leonard Reedy, Olaf Wieghorst, Nicholas Firfires, William Gollings, Wilson Hurley, Fred Harman, Grant McDonald, John Moyers, Terri Kelly Moyers, Will James, Roy Luttrell, Eric Michaels, Alexander Phimister Proctor, and many others.

Edward Borein, Bucking Bronco,  Watercolor, 7 1/4" x 5 1/2" 

Edward Borein, Bucking Bronco, 
Watercolor, 7 1/4" x 5 1/2" 

Saddles are always a highlight at Lebel’s Old West Auctions, and this year is no exception. A rare Moran Bros. Territorial Exhibition saddle (est. $20-25,000), a Bohlin silver parade ensemble (est. $30-40,000), and a Maximillian Period silver-mounted Mexican saddle (est. $15-20,000), are a sample of the various styles and eras of saddles being offered. A number of important miniature and salesman sample saddles will also cross the block, including a collection of 4 half-scale Duff Severe saddles once featured in an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (est. $50-70,000).

Since purchasing the High Noon event in 2014, Lebel’s Old West Events has worked to grow the size and diversity of the weekend dealer Old West Show. Once known primarily as a Western antique show, the Mesa show now boasts over 30 additional vendors than in earlier years. “We got creative with space,” says Lebel, “and as a result we are able to host a more diverse selection of dealers overall; more contemporary artists and craftsmen especially.” The TCAA (Traditional Cowboy Arts Association) hosts their annual “Emerging Artists Competition” at the Mesa show, with the winner announced Saturday night at the opening of the live auction. A complete vendor list is available online.

The 28th annual Mesa Old West Show will be held at the Mesa Convention Center from 9-4 on Saturday and 9-3 on Sunday, January 20-21, 2018. General admission is $10/day, kids under 12 are free. Discount tickets may be purchased online. A special Friday “early buy-in” is available for $100 for those who want to shop while the dealers unpack and set-up for the show.

Blackfoot War Shirt brings $109,250 at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona

A Blackfoot man’s beaded and hide shirt was top seller at the 26th annual auction of western art and Americana, which saw over 400 lots cross the block and realized $1.4 million in sales.

MESA, AZ – Nearly 500 people attended the 26th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday night, January 23rd, bidding on 430 lots of authentic cowboy, Indian and Western art and artifacts. Held at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, the sale drew almost as many phone and internet bidders as live ones, keeping the phone-bank and the ring-men busy all night. With total sales topping $1.4 million, and lots in every price range, the fast-paced sale realized an incredible 93.5% sell-through rate.

From cover to cover, the sale was strong; the evening’s top seller was the catalog front cover lot, a Blackfoot man’s war shirt that sold for $109,250 to a phone bidder. (It was one of many Native American artifacts to bring impressive prices.) The back cover of the catalog, an Edward Borein watercolor, sold for $51,750, well above its presale estimate of $30,000-35,000. Lebel’s auctions are well-known for their Borein sales, as his June “Old West Auction” currently holds the Borein watercolor record.

Other notable western fine artists also brought fine prices, including a large and impressive Howard Post of a trio of horses that sold above estimate at $27,225; a LaVerne Nelson Black that more than doubled its low estimate, selling for $14,160; and a Charlie Russell bronze, which sold firmly within estimate at $9,200. Among the fine art bargains of the evening was a lively Ernesto Icaza, estimated at $15,000-25,000 that realized $12,980.

Saddles, spurs and other cowboy trappings are always big sellers, with a bit and spur set from Goldberg/Staunton bringing $40,250 after a bidding war between the phones and the floor, with the floor bidder ultimately prevailing. Historic firearms did well, as was evidenced by the sale of a Trapdoor Officer’s Model sporting rifle that sold above estimate for $19,550. An historic Ulysses S. Grant Peace Medal sold for $37,375 after yet another floor versus phone bidding frenzy.

Brian Lebel, auction owner, is pleased with the sale and enthusiastic about the market. His weekend vendor sale that accompanies the auction – Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show – was equally as successful, with record-breaking attendance and millions of dollars in sales. According to Lebel, “despite plummeting stocks, global conflict, record breaking snow, and an election year, it is clear from our crowds and results that the western art and antiques market remains robust and shows no signs of slowing.” Lebel is also happy with the growing global interest in the industry. “We had vendors and shoppers from around the world,” says Lebel. “I personally spoke to folks from Germany, Belgium, France and Tokyo.”

Next year’s Mesa High Noon Show & Auction will be held January 21-22, 2017 at the Mesa Convention Center and Phoenix Marriott Mesa, respectively. Lebel’s next event is the 27th annual “Old West Show & Auction” which will be held June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information on any of these events, visit or call 480-779-9378.

(all reported prices include buyers premium)