Silver Dollar Jewelry

Hi Paula,

I want to get my grandfather a silver dollar cuff and the one marked sold on your site is the one he really likes. Can you get another? Jan

Image

Hi Jan,

We never know when one will turn up in an estate lot. But if you have or buy a silver dollar that you like, you can have it made into a bracelet for your grandfather. The shop that does our repairs, My Favorite Silversmith, (contact info at the end of this post) can do that for you. Here is an example of a bolo that Henry made for one of his customers.

Image

Diane Radeke
602-354-5028
P. O. Box 55935
Phoenix, AZ  85078

NOS – New Old Stock

We are often contacted by stores and trading posts that are closing and want to sell us their NOS – New Old Stock.

The items range from contemporary to vintage Native American items but still on the stores cards or packages.

Often they are of designs that aren’t currently available anymore and most of the time they are made of heavier sterling silver and with stones we don’t see as often any more…….so they are cool !

Even though they are not used, we put the NOS items in our pawn shop since we didn’t buy them from the artist directly and they usually are not contemporary items. So they seem to fit best in our pawn shop.

We’ve purchased some interesting inventories and collections over the last few years and I am finally listing some of it on the website.

Here are some examples of the NOS we have recently acquired:

The White Buffalo Collection – Vintage but Unused Bolo Ties

So far I’ve just skimmed the surface of this wonderful collection with the listing of the rugs previously noted and now some awesome vintage but unused bolo ties.

 

White Buffalo Navajo Pawn Collection White Buffalo Collection

We recently purchased a large collection of vintage but unused Native American artifacts including jewelry, rugs and pottery. It was part of the estate of a Navajo woman who was a missionary that worked with Native Americans in Four Corners – the area of the American southwest where four states meet- New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado. As a single parent, she raised 5 daughters and a son while also providing food, shelter, and clothing to less fortunate people that needed assistance. Often she was thanked for her help by gifts of Native American items.

Most of the items in this collection are from the 1970s to the 1990s. We offer these items to you with great respect and with the information we received from the family plus our research.

We named the collection after one of the pieces in the group, a hand carved Navajo fetish necklace honoring the Sacred White Buffalo.

Bell Trading Post History and Hallmarks

Bell Trading Post was founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1932 by Jack Michelson and his wife Mildred. They sold southwest style jewelry at various tourist locations in the United States.

CSB69-7-knifewing-wide-bell-1

Bell Trading Post got its name from Jack’s wife, whose maiden name was Bell.

The types of jewelry sold by Bell Trading Post included sterling silver, nickel silver, gold, and copper.

To see a selection of  Bell Trading Post jewelry, visit our Copper Shop.   Here are some examples:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Their main competitor was The Maisel Company until Maisel’s closed in 1968.

In 1969, Sunbell Corporation was formed and included these merchandise lines: Bell Jewelry (which now carried the Sunbell hallmark), Gregorian Copper Ware, and Oglala Lakota moccasins from Pine Ridge South Dakota. Sunbell also purchased Maisel’s inventory.

Sunbell Corporation

Sunbell Corporation catalog

Gregorian Copper Ware

Gregorian Copper Ware catalog

 

Pine Ridge moccasins

catalog page showing the Pine Ridge moccasins

Sunbell continued to offer jewelry items, now with the Sunbell hallmark,  as well as giftware and moccasins until the late 1980s. 

Over the years numerous hallmarks were used on items sold by Bell Trading Post and Sunbell. The hallmarks typically included the image of a bell or that of an arrow sign post with a bell sign hanging from it. Shown here are just a few of Bell Trading Post’s hallmarks.

According to a reader who researched the trademark records, the mark “Bell Jewelry”  was first used in 1935.

The “Arrow post hanging bell sign” was first used in 1961.

Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark  Bell Trading Company hallmark

Bell Trading Company hallmark     Bell Trading Company hallmark   Bell Trading Company hallmark

When the name changed to Sunbell, this is the hallmark often used.

sunbell cropped

February 2019

I originally wrote this article in 2011 but just updated it after receiving a note from Jacquelyn Michelson: “As the Daughter of Jack and Mildred Michelson you are incorrect in your facts about the Bell Trading Post. It was never called Bell Trading Company and Bell never merged with The Maisel Company in 1935. They remained fierce competitors until the 70’s when Sunbell Corporation bought the Maisel Company. Please correct your facts. Thank you”.

So I thanked Jacquelyn for taking the time to write and I have corrected the errors in my article and added more information and photos courtesy of Jacquelyn. I’m so glad she wrote, how else would I have known !!

I now want to share with you some references that I had used originally and that I dug out again today as I rewrote this article. I am including them all so you can review the information and draw your own conclusions. As is often the case, things aren’t always black and white.

An article online entitled Bell Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM (1932 -1969)

Although that article seems to provide some good information, Jacquelyn Michelson did point out there are a few errors, in particular this sentence:

“Then in 1957 Jack Michelson pasted away4 leaving the company to his two sons, Jack and Douglas.”

Well not only should that have said passed away, not pasted away, it should have said:

Then in 1957 Jack Michelson passed, leaving the company to his two sons, Jack and Douglas and his daughter Jacquelyn who was a proud and active part of the business. It was Jacquelyn who came up with the name Sunbell and the logo when Sunbell became a corporation.

 

 

An excellent book Reassessing Hallmarks of Native Southwest Jewelry by Pat and Kim Messier.  I’m showing one excerpt here but there are other discussions on this topic and much more !

Scan10001

Mssier excerpt

In the book Fred Harvey Jewelry, there is a timeline that states Maisel’s and Bell merged in 1935 which Jacquelyn Michelson says did not happen.

The author of the above book referenced the following book as the source for the merger information. Here is the book cover and the page referenced.

Finally, this is another reference with much about Bell Trading Post, Maisel’s and more.

Scan1

Share

Bolo Tie – What is this pendant on a string?

Paula,

I inherited some jewelry and there is a pendant on a leather string. I have no idea what it is and how it is worn. Can you help me so I can know how to describe it to sell on eBay?

Chrissy

Hi Chrissy,

The photo you sent wasn’t in sharp enough focus for me to post but I was able to see you had a very nice vintage bolo tie. I’ll use one from our pawn shop to illustrate my description.  By the way, I encourage you to take the time to take sharp, in-focus photos of your bolo as it is likely to bring a nice price if people can see the details, stones, and workmanship.

A bolo tie, also called a “shoestring necklace” or simply a bola, can be thought of as a Western necktie. A bolo tie can range from an inexpensive “string tie”  to an elaborate sterling silver and leather affair. Maybe your younger brother had one of those string ties that he wore with his cowboy hat and cap guns ??!!

A bolo has three parts.

Sterling Silver, Turquoise and Coral Navajo Bolo Tie showing the three parts: Lariat, Tips and Slide

The cord that goes around the neck is called the lariat. It is traditionally braided from leather, and most commonly black leather. The lariat can also be made from woven cord, thus the term “string tie”.

The ends of the lariat are finished off with tips. The tips can be made of sterling silver, copper or other metals. They can be machine made tips or hand made tips.

And finally we get to the Pièce de résistance  which means the focal point, the best part or feature, the artistic creation for which the other portions exist !  The slide.

The slide is a decorative feature that, as its name indicates, slides up and down on the lariat. The slide can be worn up at the neck in the same position as a necktie knot (formal) or down lower for a more casual effect.

Slides can vary as widely as the artist’s imagination and can utilize many materials. Here are some examples of Native American bolo tie slides.

A lovely Navajo bolo slide made from sterling silver, coral and turquoise with leaves, flowers, rope work and other design elements.

A unique western spur bolo slide made by Navajo artist TK Emerson from sterling silver and beautiful turquoise stones.

A Zuni inlay bolo slide by Simplicio. The horse head is made from mother of pearl and jet. Two turquoise nuggets add a color accent.


Share

%d bloggers like this: