Indian treasures abound at 19th annual Smoki Museum auction this weekend

This collection of concho belts, ranging from one made in the late 1800s to one from the 1980s, will be auctioned Saturday at the Smoki Museum. A vest from the Eastern Lakota Sioux is up for auction Saturday at the Smoki Museum.

Photos courtesy of Smoki Museum

This collection of concho belts, ranging from one made in the late 1800s to one from the 1980s, will be auctioned Saturday at the Smoki Museum. A vest from the Eastern Lakota Sioux is up for auction Saturday at the Smoki Museum.

PRESCOTT – Collectors of Indian art and Navajo rugs will descend on Prescott from near and far this weekend for the Smoki Museum’s 19th annual auction fundraiser.

The museum’s Executive Director, Cindy Gresser, said the rugs, over 300 of them, and over 100 pieces of art, come from various sources.

“In great measure, these items come from Prescott,” Gresser said. “Our community generally turns out and consigns rugs and art here right at the Smoki.”

Other “rugs and treasures” for auction come from R. B. Burnham & Company, she said. Burnham is an Arizona company that specializes in auctioning Native American goods, and they find art “all over the country.”

“Bruce Burnham is a fourth-generation trader, a very well-known, and perhaps one of the most respected, auctioneers of Indian art in the country.”

Gresser said the auction this time would include “some amazing things,” including a collection of concho belts that come from the 1800s to contemporary designs,

“We also have a spectacular piece that is a man’s vest – it’s eastern Sioux – and it’s over a hundred years old.”

The two rug auctions – held in the spring and fall – are the biggest fundraisers for the 81-year-old Smoki Museum, Gresser said.

Auction buyers are a wide variety of people, she said.

“We see everyone from people who have just moved to town and want to decorate their home with some authentic Indian art, to traders and collectors from all over the country, and sometimes all over the world.”

She said there will be auction items for just about every price range as well, with prices from $50 to over $5,000.

The auction will be held Sept. 17 at the Smoki Museum of American Indian Art and Culture, 147 N. Arizona Ave. You can preview the pieces from 9 to 11:30 a.m., and the auction begins at Noon. Admission is free. For more information, call 928-445-1230.