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Quinn & Farmer to auction pre-1900 Kiowa cradleboard bartered for tuition
Additional items of notable quality in this auction include “Polo Match,” an oil painting by Alfredo de la Maria estimated at $5000 - $7000.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- An outstanding 19th century Kiowa cradleboard will be the featured piece in Quinn & Farmer Auctions’ Great Estates Sale on Monday, March 24, 2014. The pre-sale estimate is $15,000 - $25,000, but its exceedingly fine condition, overall beauty, and strong provenance may propel the price much further. The story of how this superb artifact ended up with its current owners may be as fascinating as the cradleboard itself.

The first president of a small local college chartered early in the 20th century was a committed advocate of women’s education and improvement; an illustration of his dedication was the willingness to accept alternative forms of payment for tuition, room, and board at his institution.

In the winter of 1933, he received an extremely fine full-size Kiowa cradleboard, pipe pouch, and two pairs of moccasins from an Oklahoma family in exchange for their daughter’s four years of higher education. The letter from the young woman’s father accompanying the items states that they were originally the property of his acquaintance Lone Wolf II, last war chief of the Kiowa tribe who died in 1923.
The museum-quality cradleboard, fashioned in the late 1800’s and measuring 44 inches x 12 inches, was later loaned to the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville as the cover feature for “Tribal Styles in Plains Indian Art,” an exhibit which ran from July until December in 1995.

The college president’s descendants recently decided to consign the Kiowa cradleboard and the other artifacts at Quinn & Farmer Auctions in Charlottesville, VA. “When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” stated Ken Farmer, President of Quinn & Farmer and long-time appraiser on PBS’ popular Antiques Roadshow television program. He continued: “It’s the finest piece of Native American decorative art I’ve seen outside of a museum in my forty-year career.”

His enthusiasm is reflected in serious collectors’ desire for similar high-end artifacts. Skip Usry, Vice President of Operations at Quinn & Farmer, elaborated: “The Native American collectibles market is particularly robust right now. World-class items like this Kiowa cradleboard are achieving outstanding results at auction.”

Additional items of notable quality in this auction include “Polo Match,” an oil painting by Alfredo de la Maria estimated at $5000 - $7000, an 18th century diminutive New England chest of drawers carrying an estimate of $800 - $1200, an oil on canvas attributed to Nicolas de Largilliere depicting a young noblewoman which is estimated at $3000 - $5000, and a fine Tiffany sterling silver bowl estimated at $800 - $1200.

The March 24, 2014 auction will be held at 6:00 p.m. EST at the Quinn & Farmer gallery located at 2109 India Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901. All forms of bidding are available, including live online via LiveAuctioneers.

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