FORT WORTH, TX – May 1, 2015: Old West Events announced that it has been selected by the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, to bring to auction the Dixie W. Thompson Silver Saddle Outfit, which the museum has proudly held for nearly a century. Proceeds will benefit the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco’s acquisition funds. The circa 1889 custom saddle was the work of S. Loomis Saddlery Company for the Santa Barbara rancher, capitalist and former sea captain, Dixie W. Thompson. The silver work, fashioned using bullion from Mexican silver dollars, took over two years to complete and is attributed to the Tiffany-trained master, Edwin Field. The complete outfit, with equally detailed custom silver reins, bridle, bit, and cinch has a presale estimate of $60,000-80,000, and has never been offered for sale before now. Lebel’s 26th annual Old West Auction will be held live beginning at 5:00 pm, June 6, 2015 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The auction is free and open to the public.
“This is an incredible opportunity to own a true masterwork,” says auction founder, Brian Lebel. “The Dixie Thompson saddle outfit represents some of the very finest work by some of the best artisans of any era. Together they created one of the most magnificent saddles ever produced in America.” Dixie’s saddle was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and made frequent parade appearances with Mr. Thompson aboard. The saddle was written about in numerous newspapers, and had a reputation in its day as, “an exquisite work of art” and “the most expensive saddle in the world.”
The auction features approximately 400 total lots, and other notable saddle makers are well-represented, including Edward H. Bohlin and S.C Foy. Additional auction highlights include Annie Oakley’s rifle and “the gun that shot Morgan Earp.” A preview will be held Friday and Saturday. The auction and preview are free and open to the public. Internet, phone and absentee bidding options are also available. Catalogs are available for purchase. In addition to the auction, the weekend event features the 26th annual Old West Show, hosting 200+ vendors in authentic western art, antiques and other fine merchandise. General admission to the Show is $10/day with kids under 12 free and discount tickets available online. Visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378 for more details.