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Western Americana

Western Americana recalls the cowboys and Indians of spaghetti western films, ghost towns, and the California gold rush bonanza. These items symbolize the entrepreneurial spirit and intrepidity through which this region of the United States was settled hundreds of years ago, as settlers made their way across the Oregon Trail in search of a better life.

These artifacts, including saddles, bolo ties, belt buckles, and spurs, are among the most iconic items in American history. While they once represented the quotidian and utilitarian items of cattle ranchers and cowboys, they have since been assimilated into the mainstream.

The influence of Western Americana can be found in any major city across the world, as people as far as Tokyo began to incorporate this inescapably compelling aesthetic by wearing cowboy boots and bolo ties. Today, Western Americana is no longer confined to plains and ranches of the Southwest. It has infiltrated every part of American culture, beginning with famed cigarette advertisements in the '60s and spreading to the celebrated re-appropriated versions of these images by the esteemed contemporary artist Richard Prince.


Quick Facts

  • A silver and gold belt buckle belonging to television actor Larry Hagman sold at Bonhams in 2012 for more than $18,000
  • Bolo ties are a popular and iconoclastic fashion accessory. Celebrities including Johnny Depp and Bruce Springsteen, among many others, have sported these ties casually
  • Belt buckles from the American Southwest are most often forged in silver, and often inlaid with geometric designs featuring turquoise and coral

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Sellers Who Sell Western Americana


University Archives

University Archives

Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction