Many very reputable old west antique dealers advertise and display their wares on the internet so start looking there.Most old west towns that have a tourist following have one or two dealers in this type of material.Here in California there is a BIG old west antiques show up at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley every early May and it is quite wonderful but often with quite scary prices.
I once found a pair of spurs that belonged to George Parsons or it would be more correct to say they found me!When I moved into my current neighborhood my immediate next door neighbor had them and Parsons gave those to him in L.A. IN 1926 OR 27. When my neighbor died in 2001 at 100 I received the spurs!I also came across a Winchester 44.40 MODEL 1873 by chance when a fellow nearby told me that he just wanted to get rid of some old stuff!
As for price guides,they tend to be very generalized and often generate their values from auctions rather than retail sales.Kovel's is better than most but still has a lot left to be desired.I've been dealing antiques since I was a kid and there is nothing better than going and looking.One does ,over time,develop the knack of seperating the wheat from the chaff.
I have been collecting old stuff since I was a small boy and I'm almost 70. I was buying old Colts when they cost well under $200. Stone Indian arrow heads when they cost .50. I bought a cool axe head for $10 in Wilcox not too long ago. I hesitate to think what my collection would cost today! When I was a kid such stuff was just so much junk. But I keep my eyes peeled when I go to swap meets and such. You still run across someone who has just cleaned out their attic. A widow who wants to sell of her husband's junk. As an example I found my collection of Billy the Kid related pictures just five years ago hidden away in a little antique store. [IMG]http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa23/GermVMA211/McCartys/Custer0...[/IMG]
Curtis, Stop by Old West Antiques and check out our collection.
I would add one warning. Be careful if you buy any Native American artifacts. There are some out there that are illegal to own unless you are a member of a recognized tribe. This can cover some pottery, blankets, weapons and absolutely any bones or human remains (yes, some folks collect those).
Just be careful. Possission of some of those items can cost you a fine up to $250,000.
Yep; a fellow around here was selling obsidian arrow heads and knives and was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. It was his second offense.
I think it's illegal to pick up an arrow head in your yard!
I find stone tools all over the place. There were Indian peoples who lived in Central Oregon 14,000 years ago and there is a famous site just a few miles from my home where they found grass sandels that dated 9,000 years old.
If you find a place where there are stone tools, usually grinding rocks, sanders and awls, you will find them by the score.
I think the legality of collecting stone artifacts depends on the state. Here in Texas, if you own your land, you own everything on it, including any relics that may be on it. It's illegal here to collect artifacts from state or federal property, but as long as you own the land or have permission from the landowner, you can keep anything you find. Some friends of mine bought a house on the south bank of the Guadalupe River here in Seguin & found a literal treasure-trove of artifacts, dating back to some of the earliest NA occupation of the area. They called in state archaeologists, but they didn't have to. They could have collected the stuff themselves & sold it, & while archaeologists would have gnashed their teeth & wept bitter tears, there would have been nothing they could do. The stuff's on their property so it belongs to them.