Janice Leavitt

Would It Be Possible To Get A History On A Saddle?

18 posts in this topic

Would it be possible to get some information on this saddle? And maybe some suggestions on the stirrup leathers so I could adjust them? Right now they are tied with leather strings and can't be adjusted without untying and retying.

Thank you in advance!

It's stamped with JC Higgins, a bronc and "Our Pledge of Superior Quality".

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The latigo keeper is stamped with 1926 over the slot and 8425 under the slot.

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I can't get a good picture but the rivets are stamped with BA.

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It is tooled with a large floral pattern.

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The stirrup leathers are tied, there aren't buckles of any sort on them. Would it be possible to add double Blevins?

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The stirrups are wood/metal.

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There is some surface damage/cracks, a couple of strings are broken and all the conchos are leather. There is no silver. I would like to replace the stirrups. It came with a flank cinch with geometric pattern that didn't photo well but also has BA stamped on the rivets. I am tossing and replacing the nylon latigo, thin crappy off billet and synthetic string cinch with all leather and a Mohair cinch. The stirrup hobbles also need replacing; one is usable-thin strap with a buckle but the other is just a strap with a slit in one end that the strap was pulled through.

If other pictures are needed, please let me know.

Edited by Quartermutt

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J.C.Higgins was a "house name" for all sporting goods sold through Sears Roebuck and Company. Bona Allen got around this rule by stamping "BA" on the rivet heads. Sears would not allow a supplier to have their name on products sold through Sears. After they dropped the name J.C.Higgins, saddles were unstamped so far as makers' marks went.

Blevins buckles can be put on those old stirrup leathers. The lacing holes match up with the pegs on the Blevins buckles in the horizontal position.

Now I have a question. Does this saddle have a rawhide-covered tree? I'd almost bet it does. Bona Allen made excellent top-of-the-line saddles. I've had several; in fact I still have some.

Bonaparte Allen began his saddle business in Buford, Georgia in 1873. At one time it was the biggest manufacturer of saddles in America. He was the first to mass produce saddles, but never compromised on quality. He died in 1926 and left the company to his employees. In 1970 the company was sold to Tandy Corp. and moved to Sweet Home, Texas. It is now owned by an outfit in Illinois.

Hope this helps some. [smiley Wavey]

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Thanks! That helps a lot. This is the first saddle I've bought on my own and I thought I remembered y'all saying Bona Allen's were decent but wasn't competely sure it was really a BA.

The seller said it did and I can see a bit rawhide and rawhide lacing on the tree.

Will it hurt resale value if/when I sell it, if I convert to Blevins?Or should I just adjust it to where it needs to be and leave it there 'as is'?

Does the top number on the latigo keeper indicate the year made or something else?

If I am measuring correctly the seat is 14in. If I'm not measuring right, where do you measure from and to? If I move the tip of the tape up closer to the base of the horn, it measures 15ish. Could it be a child's saddle? Were kid's saddles common?

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Edited by Quartermutt

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I'd leave it as is, for two reasons. One is resale (I think original is always better) and 2, no one will want to ride your saddle, because most likely they'll have to adjust the leathers. :)

Jack could tell you more though. He's da man wit da saddle plan!

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Thanks! That helps a lot. This is the first saddle I've bought on my own and I thought I remembered y'all saying Bona Allen's were decent but wasn't competely sure it was really a BA.

The seller said it did and I can see a bit rawhide and rawhide lacing on the tree.

Will it hurt resale value if/when I sell it, if I convert to Blevins?Or should I just adjust it to where it needs to be and leave it there 'as is'?

Does the top number on the latigo keeper indicate the year made or something else?

If I am measuring correctly the seat is 14in. If I'm not measuring right, where do you measure from and to? If I move the tip of the tape up closer to the base of the horn, it measures 15ish. Could it be a child's saddle? Were kid's saddles common?

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It could very well be that the saddle was built on September 1st of 1926.

I'd like to see a picture of the complete saddle.

The reason I asked if it had a rawhide-covered tree was the brass rigging

dees. They told me it was a top-of-the line saddle. Bona Allen's had some

the finest stitching I've ever seen on saddles. They were built to last.

Rolling Thunder's idea fo leaving it original is a good point. Collectors like

things to be in original condition. If the saddle is that old, it's definitely

a collector's item.

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I took some more pictures of it; full side, back, front, bottom. I tried to get one of the tooling on the flank cinch but won't know how it turned out until tonight. I will get them up tonight after work. If there are any specific shots you or RT would like and I don't have them I can get them tomorrow.

Thank you both for your help.

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Back in the 50's I had a Buck Steiner saddle. I kept it at the Diamond S Ranch,

a boarding and rental place where I sometimes rode bad horses to give them

an attitude adjustment. The owner was a horsetrader who brought in loads from

Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The stirrup leathers on my saddle were laced. One day I went over there and

couldn't find my saddle. Gary, who worked there, told me they had so many

horses rented out, they ran short of saddles and used mine. Oh, man, what a

mess it was when I got it back! I took the saddle home with me after that.

I have a saddle now that I got at the Horse Traders' Convention in '76. It's an

H.P. C. Evers, made in Brady, Texas in the mid-20's and it has stirrup leathers

to lace. I like it that way.

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Is there a 'correct' way to lace them or just 'somewhat neatly with no bunches and use all four holes'? I undid the laces to do a guestamate adjustment and then couldn't remember how the laces were. I ended up with a X inside two vertical lines on the visible side and large amounts of lacing left over.

My lacing job looks similar to my picture of them but I have almost as much lacing left as I used and can't figure out what to do with the spare to 'tie' it off or tuck it in.[bang Head]

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I've seen them run back through the top holes, and then down through the criss-crossed laces. I do those on the laced-up chinks. Looks nice and neat when you have the lace laid flat. It's a bugger to get it to all lay nice and neat, but well worth it when it is.

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On that seat measurement. measure from the very base of the horn to the top center of the cantleboard. It looked like you were measuring from the rear of the fork.

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Rolling Thunder, I don't often share my saddles, but will ride in some one else's if need be. I have had to adjust between short/broad horse and tall/narrow horse.

Jack, from the base of the horn, where the seam between leather pieces is, it measures at 15 1/2ish.

Here are more pictures. There is some damage on the left swell and the horn covering. Please ignore the stuff in the background, the best place to get pictures with enough light but no glare was the railing at the downstairs neighbors'.

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Flank cinch with different pattern but also has BA stamps on the rivets.

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Horn damage

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Swell damage

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Fleece is packed down and will need replacing eventually

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If you or RT would like another angle, please let me know.

I sat in the saddle briefly, but didn't have a change to see if it would fit one of my boys yet. If I can't find a horse that it will fit, I'll eventually need to find a new home for the saddle. Right now I've only got room for three and this one makes three saddles for two horses.

Edited by Quartermutt

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The lighting would have been better outdoors, but I didn't see any damage that condemned the saddle.

I used to buy saddles to re-sell to a couple of collectors, but they retired and sold their collections. I think

they would have liked this saddle.

Where did you buy it? Nosy old farts want to know. [ROTFL]

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From the looks, the fleece could be brought back a little with some TLC, Woolite, and a sheep-grooming brush. Looks nice. As luck would have it, 15 1/2" is the seat I ride. Hmmm. Might have to borrow it some time. [ROTFL]

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On the pictures, they were taken outside in a covered porch type area at my apartment. The other option was under the cottonwoods, but light was too 'dappled' and I couldn't get any detail at all, all I got was dark saddle shape.

Don't know if I got a deal or not on it, But I found it at a garage sale that I wandered across. They wanted 275, but I only had 200 on me so they took it. Good, bad or indifferent?

We'll see if it fits one of the boys this weekend.

RT, you can borrow it, but remember, what is borrowed should be returned in better shape than it was before [ROTFL] .

Where I used to board, the BM/BO does/did custom leatherwork, saddles and saddle repair. I did manage to learn a little from him and liked to looks of the BA and the leather was thick and in good shape and the stitching was still good.

If this saddle fits, I may get rid of a used custom made(not for me) Champion saddle I over paid for. That's a whole nother subject though.

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Where would I find a sheep grooming brush and what does one look like? How would I go about reconditioning the wool? Or would that be something to be done by some one who knows what to do so as to not damage the tree?

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Quarter,

I am so glad you made this post.

I have a JC Higgins sitting in the basement!

I have had this saddle for 22 yrs, and couldn't figure out what the makers name was until a year or so ago.

Unfortunately, its not in as good of shape as yours!

Now I have to go look at it some more, see if I can find more identifying marks. :)

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lol,

Now I'm filthy!

My saddle is definitely not in as good of shape. :( It was donated when the barn burned down.

Definitely is a JC Higgins.

It has a hard seat, and I think also has the lacing for the stirrup fender adjustments.

The leather 'tag' on the left front concho is torn off on the bottom half, the upper half has 1225 on it. It is a basket weave, has brass rivets (can't find anything stamped on them?), can't tell what the rigging is just yet - too much gunk has built up.

If you look at her 9th photo posted above, the crescent moon of detailing on the back half of the seat/cantle is a basket weave, with a flower (daisy?) at each point of the moon shape.

It has a wood tree with something that almost looks like gauze over it.

Also, when you are measuring from the base of the horn to the cantle...do you take the measurement from the front edge of the cantle or figure it to the middle of the thickness of the cantle? (Right now if I measure from the base of the horn just above where the leather from the swells meets the horn to the front edge of the cantle, its 15", to the back edge of the cantle I get 15 1/2".

There are also 4 leather conchos on each side of the saddle with strings...although most of them have broken off. They have used small nails to attach them with.

Any ideas??

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