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    George Armstrong Custer: His Personal Cavalry Saddle from the Indian Wars Period, with Terrific Provenance. Custer was never known as one to conform to regulations, whether it was his buckskin jackets, his pearl-handled Webley revolvers, or his saddles. Once he began operating in the Western theater, he came to realize that features of the "Western" saddle, such as a saddle horn and leather covered stirrups, were popular for good reason. Accordingly, he had the saddler modify the McClellan saddle which had been in use by American cavalrymen since before the Civil War, to his personal specifications. This example comes with impeccable provenance: it was obtained by legendary collector Lawrence Frost from the Custer family in 1941. A notarized confirming affidavit from Col. Charles A. Custer, Armstrong's grand-nephew, accompanies this lot. The saddle was also published in one of the best known reference books on Custer and the 7th Cavalry, Bugles, Banners and War Bonnets, by Ernest L. Reedstrom (p. 234). A copy of this classic volume is included with this lot.

    Condition is excellent for a leather saddle of this vintage; although the leather is somewhat dried out and exhibits light surface crazing, the saddle is complete and maintains a very pleasing display appearance.

    Personally owned artifacts from famous personalities have always found favor with collectors and institutions alike. However, prices attained at auction vary tremendously. Two of the most important determining factors are: (1) How closely does the object relate to the activity for which the person is best known? and (2) How direct and personal is the connection between the object and its owner?

    By these standards, it is hard to imagine a more meaningful relic of George Armstrong Custer than his personal Indian Wars-era cavalry saddle. Cavalrymen and their horses worked long and hard to learn to function together as a single unit, and the connection between the two was, of course, the saddle, which enabled the man to remain in place and helped him to control and direct the animal.

    A number of Custer-owned items have come into the auction market over the years. For many of them, it is impossible to say just what role they played in his life. However, we offer here something with an important and personal connection to this legendary Western figure: a saddle on which he undoubtedly sat while he did what he loved best, and for which he is best remembered. A very special opportunity for collectors and institutions alike.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 8,593

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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