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Spurs
If you are interested in collecting spurs we have assembled some information to get you thinking about your options as well as reference materials we recommend.

Two major classifications of spurs exist, those made within the United States and those made elsewhere. Focusing on the ones made in America, three broad regional styles emerged each having their own distinct design characteristics. These are the Texas style, the plains style and the California style. New collectors are most often drawn to a style that is prevalent in their regional area. As a new collector, your first decision is to determine your focus. This is best done through reading two of the most comprehensive books ever authored on antique collectible spurs, Bit and Spur Makers in the Texas Tradition by Ned and Jody Martin and Kurt House and Bit and Spur Makers in the Vaquero Tradition by Ned and Jody Martin. These two books have remarkable photography and excellent biographies on virtually every important early spur maker. After you have determined the style or styles that appeal to you then you must decide if you will focus on antique or contemporary makers. The golden era for antique US makers was roughly 1900 to 1940. Since that time there have been many excellent makers that can still be very collectible. Your next decision will be which specific maker or makers you wish to concentrate on. Finally you will need to determine the rarity and condition level you will want your collection to aspire to. All of these decisions are of course driven by budget. Often collectors begin in a comfort range and slowly upgrade their collection as they become more knowledgeable and focused.

The National Bit Spur and Saddle Collectors Association (NBSSCA) has been in existence since 1980 and boasts approximately 1,400 members. It is an excellent organization to join as it publishes a quarterly newsletter with upcoming shows and events and collector related articles as well as an annual membership directory. The dues are $40 for an annual membership. To join call or write:
The NBSSCA
PO Box 1969
Addison, TX 75001-3318
214-912-8896
www.nbssca.org

Following is a list of books we recommend for your library:

1. The Spurs of James J. Wheat by Bruce Bartlett
2. Bit and Spur Makers in the Texas Tradition by Ned and Jody Martin and Kurt House
3. Bit and Spur Makers in the Vaquero Tradition by Ned and Jody Martin
4. Hand Forged for Texas Cowboys - The Joe Bianchi Book by Kurt House
5. Bits and Spurs Motifs, Techniques and Modern Makers by Ned and Jody Martin
6. Cowboy Culture by Michael Friedman
7. Packing Iron - Gunleather of the Frontier West by Richard Rattenburg
8. Spur Marks by Natha Mitchell
9. JR McChesney A Lifetime a Legacy by Lee Jacobs
10. Cowboy Spur Makers - The Story of Ed Blanchard by Jane Pattie and Tom Kelly
11. Cowboy and Gunfighter Collectibles by Bill Mackin
12. Cowboy Spurs and Their Makers by Jane Pattie
13. California's Best Old West Art and Antiques by Brad and Brian Whitherell
14. Cowgirls-Women of the Wild West by William Manns and Elizabeth Clair Flood
15. Old Cowboy Saddles and Spurs by Dan Hutchins
16. Artistry in Silver and Steel Vol. I and II by J. Martin Basinger
17. Cowboys and The Trappings of the Old West by William Manns and Elizabeth Clair Flood
18. California Bit and Spur by Lou Kosloff
19. Colorado Prison Spurs and the Men who Made Them by Patrice Maul and Jack Ferguson
20. The Bianchi Brothers by Phil Bianchi

We will offer some of these volumes on our web site from time to time. Some of the publications are out of print but we can usually find a copy for sale if you are interested.