Ervin Hoskie Buckle

Hello Paula

I have a beautiful buckle I purchased in 1980 in Denver.  It has been in
the safe since.  I would like to know more about it and what it might be
worth  It appears unique as my searches have turned up nothing remotely

The buckle is heavy 14 gold flower  with a center inlay of coral and shell.
Backing is silver. Zuni?  It is about 3.5″ long and weighs 100 gms. The
back has two signatures, “Made by Erwin or E**iv Haslic or Haskic” I don’t
think it is Haskell. “Carved by Bessie Keedylu?. They were signed with a
vibra-tool. The back also has a 14K gold quality mark. The shell/coral
inlay is surrounded with 8 solitary 1/2 inch turquoise stones.  Do you
think you could tell me something about this piece.  I would be glad to
send you photos.

Thanks,  Jack

!cid_6_2_1_2_2_20130816213017_02b6c888@shawmail_gv_shawcable_net backHi Jack,

It looks like the first line is signed “Made by Ervin Hoskie”.

Ervin Hoskie was a Navajo silversmith who usually signed with an engraver in block letters


or simply


He was known for his silver, gold and cobblestone work.  I believe he passed away about 10 years ago.

As far as Bessie’s signature line, I can’t quite get a fix on that signature. Your guess is about as good as I could do. I definitely see the capital K but after that, I’m not sure.  And I’m not sure what “Carved by” refers to. I’ve never seen that before in relation to a piece like this because there doesn’t appear to be any carving. There is silver and gold work, stone work and inlay (the center).  Carving usually refers to something like Zuni Fetishes. This buffalo was carved by Zuni artist Andres Lementino

FT247-buffalo-pipestone-lementino-1As far as the inlay itself, I am not very knowledgeable about Hopi kachinas but the figure in the center of the buckle appears to be a native dancer of some sort holding a cross in each hand which I have never seen.

Perhaps someone else who reads this blog can give you some more ideas, but at least I got you started along the lines of Ervin Hoskie. Let me know if you find out anything else.


Here is an inlay bolo tie with a Zuni Crown Dancer (per Russ Nobbs)

Crown Dancer

6 thoughts on “Ervin Hoskie Buckle

  1. Hi Paula and Jack,
    I think the “carving” refers to the Zuni inlay cab of a Zuni Crown Dancer. If you google Zuni Crown Dancer images there are several similar. This one with the gold lip MOP center is quite nice. The carving signature looks like Bessie Keadoph or something similar. I’m not familar with any name like that and don’t find it in my lists. Work like this was popular in the late 70’s. Some times the Inlay artist was identified but not always. I think the inlay artists sold ready to set cab to supply shops and dealers for Navajos to purchase for setting. My memory is shaky from those days but I think one of the Panteah family members made some of them.

    There were also Fillipino made inlay cabs made in the same style but using resins and paints for the inlay. Yours appears to be genuine American made work. The knock offs were typically set in much cheaper, light weight mountings.

    Yours is a very impressive buckle.

  2. A Google search for Bessie Keedah, which is how I saw that signature, turns up several pieces of Zuni inlay work. “Carved” does seem an odd descriptor but it might apply.

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