Lot Essay

Roy's first, most photographed silver parade saddle, the popular Dick Dickson Jr. model, is built on a Miles City Tree with 13" swells, a 15" seat and a 3" high cantle. The black, deeply floral carved, oak-bark tanned California leather is mounted with heavy gauge sterling silver diamonds and half diamonds. The entire front of the saddle is constructed of intricately and artistically engraved sterling with a twisted rope edge around the gullet plus Bohlin's trademark raised silver buffalo on the horn cap. The rope cantle binding is not just a mere rim with creases across to resemble a rope, but extends above the silver piece which binds the cantle and makes a full roundgiving it the appearance of a genuine rope. All silver corner plates are aesthetically placed with matching ornamentation while the 21" long tapaderos feature a silver cut-out letter R. The Bohlin silver shield nameplate on the seat is engraved with the name ROY ROGERS and the sterling nameplate on the back of the cantle has RR in gold letters with ROY ROGERS engraved in script below. Saddle includes a matching Bridle and Breast Collar plus a pair of studded leather saddlebags adorned with slotted conchos and white strings.

The Roy Rogers and Trigger Movie and Television Saddle by James H. Nottage

Known as the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers appeared in a lengthy series of films, a long-lived television series and at hundreds if not thousands of personal appearances. As the king, he rode his famous palomino horse Trigger, atop a fitting throne, an elegant silver mounted saddle. When a young Roy Rogers began his first series of Republic films in 1938, he used a borrowed silver-mounted saddle made by Edward H. Bohlin. By 1940, he had personally visited the Hollywood showroom of the Edward H. Bohlin Company and ordered a customized version of the model advertised as the "Dick Dickson, Jr." He worked directly with the maker, Ed Bohlin, to get exactly what he wanted. The result was of tooled brown leather with diamond conchos, his named engraved on the seat plate, his initials in gold and his name cut into the silver at the back of the cantle, and his initials on the long, graceful tapaderos. The rig with bridle and breast collar would have cost almost a thousand dollars, a fortune for the rising, but popular star.
This saddle is documented on Trigger and with Roy in literally thousands of photographs, on the covers of Roy Rogers comics, and on movie posters. During World War II Rogers was photographed on Trigger in front of the Alamo during a bond drive. This is the saddle outfit that generations watched him ride in movies and throughout the television series. The saddlebags presently with the saddle are a replacement made by a friend of Rogers about 15 to 20 years ago. This is perhaps one of the 3 or 4 most iconic Roy Rogers artifacts, an important object in American popular culture and fitting for the most significant of museum or private collections.

(Eiteljorg Museum Curator and Bohlin expert, James Nottage is author of Saddlemaker to the Stars, The Leather and Silver Art of Edward H. Bohlin)

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