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Utopia in New Mexico


August in New Mexico is nothing less than heaven on Earth
for collectors of Old West, tribal and ethnographic antiques. Here the month is not divided into days like other parts of the planet, but rather into shows- and oh what shows
they are!
Starting in Albuquerque, the Great Southwestern Antiques, Indian and Old West Show opened the month with that two day celebration of Americana. Organized by Terry Schurmeier, owner of the gallery Cowboys & Indians, the event celebrated its second year this season at the Lujan Center Fairgrounds with a bang. 138 dealers, hailing from all corners of the U.S. and Mexico, set up a dynamic show with items spanning a time-line stretching from pre-Colonial times to the 1940s.
48 hours later, and just a half-hour drive to the north, the famous Whitehawk Associates' first of three back-to-back shows was getting underway in Santa Fe.
The Old West & Country Show, now in its ninth year, proved to be a gathering of prominent exhibitors with stellar collections.
Event promoters Sherry Maxwell and Nikki Rivera are making an earnest effort to create one of the most exalted shows of southwestern antiques with this exhibition. Collectors Enrique Guerra and Tony Piraino were among the several who noted that sales were especially strong this year on high-end early equestrian pieces and firearms.
Following right on the heels of the country show was the world renowned Ethnographic Art Show, also held at the Sweeney Convention Center in downtown Santa Fe. Among some of the spoils being offered to investors in fine antiquities were Peruvian textiles, Mesoamerican jade, 16th and 17th century ceramics and an astounding selection of Colonial religious artifacts. Few museums in the world could boast of such a varied and phenomenal display of American indigenous arts, and in fact several museum curators purchased pieces for their collections.
Under a more casual banner, yet no less exciting, the five-day Mountain Man Trade Fair was taking place just down the street in the Palace of the Governors' courtyard. Exhibitors dressed in buckskins and vintage cowboy gear, held tomahawk and knife throwing demonstrations, roasted buffalo steaks and traded yarns during the event. Silver work, antique muskets and knives,
colonial iron work, Old West collectibles and indigenous trade beads were laid out on saddle blankets and hide throws for collectors to barter and bargain over.
As the Mountain Men packed up to head back to the hills, the Whitehawk 22nd annual invitational Indian Art Show was converging back at the Convention Center. Pre1940 American Indian artifacts comprised the offerings for dealers and aficionados during the three-day event. Vendors present for this world-class exhibit included Sotheby's auction house, Waterbird Traders, Relics
of the Old West, Morning Star Gallery and 97
other distinguished businesses.
After the whirlwind of shows, patrons still looking for bargains headed just outside of Santa Fe's city limits to the Pueblo Tesuque Reservation for the weekend flea market. The sale boasts space for over three hundred vendors who offered a wide variety of wares, including a fair sampling of Mexican prirnitives and folk arto
A hearty applause is well deserved for the organizers and sponsors of this impressi ve string of shows. Congratulations are also in order for the numerous participants and their dedication to the arts of the New World. Keep up the great work.