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A particularly beautiful and rare early Navajo

cast ingot coin-silver belt buckle, c.1900-1910

This beauty is a real blast from the great old past, a true Navajo silver “Golden Oldie” straight from the turn of the last century. This one has everything one should ever look for in a traditional Classic Navajo silver piece of this age; made of ingot silver cast from melted-down American and/or Mexican silver coins, a fairly straightforward sculptural form, shape and design layout and the wonderful use of early stamp work

in which only three or four individual simple stamps have been beautifully and skillfully applied to create a rich and complex pleasing design pattern.

The buckle’s form is a Navajo interpretation of the small brass square or rectangular “Harness” style buckles, salvaged from U.S. or Mexican Army or other leather saddlebags or horse tack and often used on early 1st Phase Navajo Concho belts in the late 19th Century years (1870-1880’s) before Navajo silversmiths had generally learned how to use solder.

It is a measure of the relative importance of this buckle to the person who made it and acquired it that the buckle weighs 23 grams or 7/8 ounce of nearly pure (90%) coin silver which is almost the exact same weight as one American silver dollar. In the almost purely trade economy of the remote Navajo reservation during this early time period, hard silver currency of any sort was extremely difficult to come by and the silversmith or the person for whom the buckle was made would have had to trade handsomely in sheep, wool, crops or other commodities to acquire one silver dollar. Also, instead of using the silver dollar to make a belt buckle its owner could have alternatively used it instead at a local trading post to buy desirable commodity or luxury items for himself and his family such as five pound sack of flour or sugar, a pound of chocolate, 100 postage stamps, nine bottles of wine, or a case of Coca-Cola.

At left and right, an 1892 Americam Silvr Dollar of the same type and time period which might have been used to make this buckle. At center, a Navajo silversmith at work in his hogan, c. 1910.

Center photo source and © Alamy

The buckle is nearly square in shape and it measures a very nicely-sized and very easy to wear 2" in width by

1 7/8" in height and it weighs an extremely comfortable 23 grams or 7/8 ounce. The buckle will accept a leather belt strap of up to 1" in width. The buckle is in excellent original condition with a fine soft patina from its century plus of age and considerable amount of nice wear which shows you that this piece was loved quite

a lot by its previous owner or owners. As an additional plus, this buckle would be equally attractive and work equally well when worn by a man or a woman. And while it would naturally look gangbusters worn with a shirt and jeans, it is also elegant and refined enough on an appropriate leather belt strap to wear very nicely with a suit or jacket and tie or over a little black dress.

Transport yourself back to the “Golden Age” of Navajo silver with this beautiful

and beautifully-crafted classic buckle.

Price $1,475


Note: The leather belt pictured here is for demonstration purposes only and is not included in the sale

of this buckle. If desired, we can recommend an excellemnt custom leather belt maker in Santa Fe.