Craftsmen

Garcia Bits and Spurs

GSGarcia snakepattern

Knowing the maker’s marks helps ensure that you have the real thing. 

GSGarcia snakepatternG.S. Garcia’s snake-pattern spurs are marked with his name on one heelband and have “Elko, Nev.” inside the other.

By Becky Prunty, written January 2001
Photographs by Ned Martin

For every art form there are artists, and there are imitators. It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of admiration, and through the ages famous artists naturally have been the ones most frequently imitated. The same holds true for silver bit- and spurmakers.

It is easy, then, to understand why Garcia, based in Elko, Nev., is one of the most regularly imitated bit- and spurmakers today. (Garcia of Elko is in no way related with Eduardo Garcia of San Ysidro, Calif., whose pieces carry the distinct maker’s mark, *E Garcia.) The Garcia legacy in Elko is a rich one, spanning a century with a name synonymous with excellence. Garcia bits and spurs, deeply rooted in our western heritage since the late 1800s, were introduced during the heyday of the cattle industry and immediately became an integral part of the American cowboy legend.

Garcia History

EaglebitThis eagle bit marked “G.S. Garcia, Elko, Nev.,” exemplifies the superior craftsmanship of Alsatio Herrera, master bit- and spurmaker for G.S Garcia.

In 1894 young Guadalupe S. Garcia left his home and business in Santa Margarita, Calif., to seek his fortune in Elko. At the time Elko was a booming cowtown, a virtual mecca for working cowboys who appreciated the quality gear that Garcia had spent years learning to make. Garcia’s intuition paid off; his fledgling Elko business (G.S. Garcia Harness and Saddlery) was so wildly successful that he had to relocate to a larger building after only a year in business.

Encouraged by his success, Garcia in 1899 introduced a catalog to offer quality products to a broader range of customers. In the catalog were beautiful bits and spurs, sought after even then by cowboys everywhere. For the working cowboy, there was no better source for consistently well-built tack.

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2 thoughts on “Garcia Bits and Spurs”

  1. Howdy folks. In reading your article on identifying bits & spurs made by Garcia, I would like to share some information that may contradict a small part of this article.
    I am an auctioneer in S. Oregon, over 40 years in the business. In your article you stated:
    “Another source for a collector’s piece is the heirloom that’s been in the family for years but, unfortunately, families willing to part with their heirlooms are few and far between.”

    Sadly, in ther past 10 years we have noticed a trend where the younger generation selling of a deceased parents things has no interest in very many “family heirlooms”… if the piece isn’t a direct connection to the parent, they don’t want the “stuff”, they just want the check. I find this to be a bit disheartening, but becoming more and more true, on the west coast anyway.
    Thank you for your time and great reading.

    Auctioneer Frank Dodge
    Eagle Point, OR

    Reply
    • Thank you for your feedback, Frank! You will notice that the article you’re referencing was published in our magazine in 2001. It is definitely sad to see the trends change.

      Reply

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