The delight in finding elusive pieces and learning about history through items that have survived are just some the things that make collecting Old West antiques so much fun. Antique spurs are just one Old West tool that people love to find and collect. As with any antique, knowing your collectible's worth is important. Whether you want to know for insurance purposes or to satisfy your own curiosity, here is how to put a value on your old spurs.
Identify the characteristics. With any antique or vintage item, the quality of the piece and the makers marks or other identifying stamps are important to figuring out the worth of the item. Many spurs will have designs or patterns such as a horse head or fancy scrollwork to take note of, so look your item over carefully.
Determine what your spurs are made out of. Many antique spurs have real silver overlays or are made of bronze which will affect their value in the market. Iron spurs may indicate an older age for your collectible spurs. A recent eBay search found a medieval iron spur dated to the 1400's.
Determine the quality of the leather straps. Leather often deteriorates or rots on old spurs, so antique spurs that have intact or partially intact leather straps will have a greater value than those that have no straps. If your spurs have leather, do not attempt to clean or repair the straps. Leaving them as they are often preserves the value of the spurs.
Check eBay. The online auction site has many types of antique spurs (including children's toy spurs) among their auction listings, and finding spurs that are close to quality and age as your own will give you a ballpark figure as to the potential value of your collectible.
Check out the spurs in western museums. Western museums will have a lot of information on antique western accessories and items, and you can learn a lot by wandering through the displays. Bring your own spurs along and talk to the curator to get his expert opinion on your find. Cheyenne, Wyoming, has a great western museum, so visit or e-mail for advice or information.
Read western antique books. "Cowboy Trappings: Antiques of the Old West" by William Manns is a great place to start, as is the "Old West Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide" by John Kopec. Learning all you can about antique spurs, their markings and demand will help you determine a value for your piece.
Loretta Humble ~ sxc.hu