Tack & Gear

What’s It Worth? R.T. Frazier Saddle

A well-loved saddle may be invaluable to the owner but not to collectors. Experts weight in on what this Frazier Pueblo saddle may be worth.

A well-loved saddle may be invaluable to the owner but not to collectors. Experts Mike and Gretchen Graham weigh in on what this Frazier Pueblo saddle may be worth.

A well-loved saddle may be invaluable to the owner but not to collectors. Experts weigh in on what this Frazier Pueblo saddle may be worth.
Photo courtesy Rhydonia Hieronymus

“I want to ask you about the value of this saddle. It was given to me by my uncle Earl Robertson of Reserve, New Mexico. I’m told that he went to Pueblo to pick it up. You can see it has had a hard or good life. What is it worth?”

— RHYDONIA HIERONYMUS, NEW MEXICO

Dear Rhydonia,

Your question is great for me on several levels. First of all, you are only the second person I have met with your last name. I once owned a “Hieronymus Tub,” which was an antique gambling device.

About your saddle, you are richer from the memories of your uncle and the fun that you had with the saddle than you will be if you sell the saddle. I love the story about your uncle going to Pueblo to pick up the saddle. Back then, Pueblo County was the second biggest county in Colorado by population. A trip to Pueblo was probably a remarkable trip.  

In our store we are only about a 40-minute drive from Pueblo. All of them are surprised when I tell them that Pueblo was famous for saddle making. I think I heard one time there were 80 saddle making companies over time in Pueblo.

I have some critical observations about your saddle after viewing the pictures that you sent. The top on the saddle seat has been cut off. The saddle was probably made between 1920 and 1940s. The cantle was usually higher earlier; later, the style changed to prefer a saddle with a lower cantle. The cantle on your saddle was probably cut lower because the style changed. The cantle binding shown in your pictures is not the quality of anything made in a professional saddlery.

A well-loved saddle may be invaluable to the owner but not to collectors. Experts weight in on what this Frazier Pueblo saddle may be worth.
Photo courtesy of Rhydonia Hieronymus

Another poor modification to the saddle is that the corners of the saddle skirts have been cut off. Like the lowered cantle mentioned above, the style changed to prefer rounded skirts rather than square skirts, and many people rounded off the skirts on their saddles to follow the newer fashion. I think both these changes — the lower cantle and the rounded skirts — were the result, in part, of rodeo equipment influencing the style.

The saddle was relined with replacement sheepskin, or at least restitched around the edges. I can see from the outside that the work done doesn’t look good. When the work was done to your saddle, there was probably no consideration given that the saddle might ever be a collectible antique. This hurts the value of your saddle.

What I like about your saddle is that it was rode and rode. Someone’s thighs wore through the leather covering the pommel on each side — that has got to be a lot of riding. Another great feature is the maker mark in the block letters, which indicates to me that it is earlier than many Frazier saddles that are still seen today.

Your uncle Earl must have thought a lot of you to give you his saddle. Unfortunately, it has too much wear and too many poorly done alterations to bring a high value.

Value: $125

MIKE AND GRETCHEN GRAHAM own Ruxton’s Trading Post in Manitou Springs, Colorado, where they have more than 60 years of experience buying and selling antiques. The pair buys, appraises and sells antiques from the shop, specializing in cowboys and American Indian collectibles.

Leave a Comment

Recommended