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#23: Buckskin

December 28, 2008

My heart’s going bumpity-bump for buckskins, which is a tell-tale sign that despite our being in the face of January 2009 and the coldest of what’s left of winter, I’m already thinking about spring. Buckskins are leathers usually made from the hide of a deer (in the old days, maybe elk or moose, and occasionally cowhide treated to look like deer hide) and identified by being extremely soft and supple, pliable, and golden in color. The characteristics of a vintage buckskin are perfect makins for a lightweight and comfy spring jacket, in contrast to say a vintage horsehide better for keeping warm in the cold.

I’ve got two new buckskins that I’m head over heels for, both completely different in aesthetic but from the same era, the 1930’s.

Exhibit A is a little equestrian style number noted for being longer in the front than in the back, which would be extra comfortable when atop a nice Pinto or Appaloosa, to keep the jacket from riding up while mid-trot. This piece also features a golden and petite Talon zipper (not pictured). Talons should be duly noted when featured on vintage pieces, as they were the first zipper manufacturing company and the first zipper to be featured on the blue jean in the 1920’s. The Talon zipper is also a mark of quality, as its scooped design ensures greater strength and smoother operation.
Harriswear Quality Sport Wear, c. 1930’s (photographed on Navajo Chief’s pattern weaving, third phase, from Dad’s collection–breathtaking!)

This jacket also features a half-belt design which adds a touch of femininity around the waistline that comes highly appreciated, along with a sweet little molded buckle to add additional equestrian flair. The skin on this jacket is a bit beat up and shows some signs of age and wear, but that’s generally just the way I like it, all worn in and ready to go.

Exhibit B is a western style jacket, obviously noted in the fringe design. Western wear’s availability soared in the 1930’s with the advent of the popularity of all things western, from its stars to cowboy comics to dude-ranch vacations.
Desert Suedes by Taylors of California, c. 1930’s, featuring leather covered button closures and in nearly mint condition.
Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, who soared to fame in the 1930’s.
Kit Carson comic, c. 1930’s, in fringe.
(PS – for those who love comics or just general intelligence, visit my darling Paul’s new blog here.)

While I’m in the equestrian and western spirit, I want to thank my darling Courtney Clark (while wishing her a happy birthday again, too!) for taking me and Shawn Creeden out on the trails yesterday like a real coupla cowboys and cowgirls. While in the rain I didn’t get a chance to don a buckskin or a good southwestern poncho, or even a Stetson JB, here I am (in a classic watrerproof Belstaff Trialmaster, from the last round of jackets made in the British factory before it was closed in 2004 after being purchased by Italian designers) with Becky the Appaloosa having a grand time, despite the horrible rain-hair.

Anyway, hopefully my penchant for a good buckskin is satiated for a while, but there’s always room in the closet for another vintage leather…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2008 10:48 am

    Rain-hair, schmain-hair.

  2. December 29, 2008 11:11 pm

    Glad the buckskin found a good home on the range. It’s kinda cool to imagine it hitting the trails once again after all the years it spent in storage.

  3. indiansummervintage permalink*
    December 29, 2008 11:19 pm

    Thanks Scott! Couldn’ta done it without you. PS, love Atomic Radar and will be happy to visit regularly. XOX

  4. Julie Haugh permalink
    October 13, 2010 6:27 pm

    I have the identical buckskin jacket shown in the photo above – a Harriswear Sport Garment. How do I find out the value and how could I sell it?

    • indiansummervintage permalink*
      October 13, 2010 8:40 pm

      eBay would probably be easiest. You might want to put a price tag on it and also allow bidders to submit offers. I don’t think I paid more than $100 for the jacket, but if it’s in perfect condition and depending on the size, I’m sure it will get some attention. Thank you!

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