A major art auction in Nevada on Saturday, July 21, has a connection to Wallowa County.

On that day the “War Shirt of Chief Joseph” will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Coeur D’Alene Art Auction in Reno, Nev., and is expected to bring an estimated $800,000 to $1.2 million.

A story in July issue of the Western Art Collector magazine, stated Chief Joseph’s personal war shirt, “one of the most interesting pieces in the 2012 sale” was also being called “the most important Native American artifact to every come to market.”

According to the story, it was expected to “cross the block with an estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million.

The magazine said the beaded war shirt was worn in the first-known photograph of Chief Joseph in 1877 and also during a sitting for a portrait by the painter Cyrenius Hall in 1878, which was used on a U.S. postage stamp and now hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

According to a foot-noted history of Chief Joseph and the war shirt on the auction website, the speculation is that the shirt was part of the huge give-away ceremony held at Nespelem, Wash., following his death in 1904 “to be kept in some family’s trunk for almost a century.”

The shirt, which is in excellent condition, apparently surfaced at an Indian relic show in the 1990s and was sold without any awareness of its history, and it changed hands again before the connection with Chief Joseph and the historical photograph was made.

For information about the Coeur D’Alene Art Auction, visit its home website at www.cdartauction.

The page with a photo and the historical information of the war shirt is www.cdartauction.com/2012/lot/17359.

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