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Need Western Saddle Help!!

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  • Need Western Saddle Help!!

    An elderly friend of mine has an old Billy Royale western saddle she wants to sell and asked me to help her out. The saddle is in very good shape and there is a matching headstall and breastcollar that is in fair shape.

    The saddle is dark oil with a fair amount of silver. One silver medallion is missing near the horn but you can't see that unless you are looking for it because there is a little strappy thing that hangs over it.

    I know nothing of western tack - can you tell??? It looks much like this saddle: http://tacktrader.com/show_item.php?...7&share_this=Y, except the skirt is square, not round.

    It is about 30 years old, if I had to guess. Says Billy Royale, Handmade in Texas on the fenders.

  • #2
    If the saddle has sterling silver as opposed to plated, German Silver or a common metal, it will help her sell it. The vintage western show saddles with real silver still hold value - common tack has taken a beating in this economy. If the silver is filigreed (like what is pictured), that is very desirable as well. I have a Billy Royal vintage show set that I bought right before the economy tanked. It has sterling silver on it and I believe I paid $2,000 for the set. However, nothing was missing and it was in near perfect condition.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


    • Original Poster

      bludejavu - if I post a pic of the silver and tooling, would you help me figure out what it might be? I am completely out of my element here.


      • #4
        I can try - bear in mind I'm not an expert in vintage western tack unless it comes to parade saddles, and even then I wouldn't call myself an "ex-spurt". Also, as far as determining if the silver is truly sterling, the only way to know is to remove the silver and examine the back to see how it is marked, or to do a silver test (a jeweler can do this for you).
        Susan N.

        Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


        • #5
          That one in the link looks like an arabian show saddle, with the housing that round.

          Your saddle may still have "round" skirts, but not be quite that much, or may have truly "square" skirts, although those are not generally found in older show saddles as much as they are today in some performance saddles.

          Most saddles are made with less than true square skirts, as they set on a horse's backs better.

          With old tack like that, the price is what someone that really wants it and is looking hard for what you have to sell will pay for it, hard to set a price.


          • Original Poster

            I am uploading pics to Facebook now, will make sure to set permissions to everybody, and hopefully you all can help me. I want to see this old woman get what she can. This was her departed husband's stuff and she has been holding onto it for years but realizes it has to go. So sad.


            • Original Poster


              Here is the link to the album.


              • #8
                Personal Champ - that is one of the nicest vintage western sets I've seen in awhile. The silver definitely appears to be sterling, but again, without the test or seeing the marks on the back, it's only a guess on my part. That set is extremely well made and from the pics, it looks well cared for. If the only flaw is a missing medallion, that is fairly minor.

                If she's looking to quick sell, ebay would be a decent bet with a set of that quality; however, on ebay she still would probably not get true value for it. To really get a good price for it, it should be advertised on some other sites or if there are western tack stores anywhere nearby, she could probably place it on consignment.

                I agree with Bluey - it's very hard to place a value right now. If the silver is sterling, and if it were my set, I wouldn't part with it for less than $3000. If it is anything other than sterling, I can't hazard a guess as to it's value but I wouldn't price it under $2000.
                Susan N.

                Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                • Original Poster

                  Wow, thanks.

                  I just found out that she did find the receipt from original purchase. They paid 2k for it way back when.

                  The saddle was stored in the basement, covered, with a dehumidifier, so it is in excellent shape. It needs a good cleaning of the tooling, but otherwise very nice.

                  What would the back look like if it were sterling? What should I look for?


                  • #10
                    If you're not familiar with sterling silver marks, you would need a jeweler to interpret them for you. It would probably be easiest to take it to a jeweler and let them test it, instead of trying to remove a piece (unless by some chance some are screwed into place instead of riveted). If they paid $2000 for it brand new, and the silver is in fact, sterling, that guarantees appreciation of value. That being said, sometimes it takes awhile to find a buyer/collector, but they are out there.
                    Susan N.

                    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                    • #11
                      Prices do vary a lot; I found the Arabian saddle for $1200 on another forum: http://www.horseclicks.com/saddles/q847yq/
                      When you price it, also take into consideration that you have the bridle (couldn't tell if it has reins) and the breast collar too....a complete set (IMHO) is a more valued item than selling them singly.
                      You might contact the saddle maker (I believe they still exist) in order to get an indication regarding the silver is sterling or not. Quite likely that there will be an identification number on it somewhere...each saddlemaker has a different location, but I'd try on the left side under the skirt, or where the latigo keeper is.
                      If the Chicago screws are accessible, you could carefully unscrew one of the cheekpieces on the bridle to see if it is sterling or not...I have a bridle from another maker that has "sterling" stamped on it; non-sterling will often say Mexican or alpaca silver. Though, the bridle might be one of those, and the saddle sterling.
                      A quick search showed a somewhat simpler BR...
                      Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
                      Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                      • #12
                        I'd say value it at more than the original '70's price - it's a lovely vintage piece and if it is complete with the reins there will be somebody out there to snap it up. Some entertainment figure possibly. Well made tack holds its value and with inflation that saddle would cost what now to buy new? $4 to $6K?

                        It's very handsome and I can see why your friend held on to it so long as a momento of her husband. Thank you for helping her out.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible


                        • #13
                          Don't listen to everyone else--it's ugly, tacky and totally worthless. I'll take it out of your hands for $200. Or I'll trade you my far fancier, beautiful Big Horn cordura trail saddle. Definitely an even swap. (;
                          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                          Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                            Don't listen to everyone else--it's ugly, tacky and totally worthless. I'll take it out of your hands for $200. Or I'll trade you my far fancier, beautiful Big Horn cordura trail saddle. Definitely an even swap. (;
                            Hahaha!! I was going to say the same thing!

                            I agree with bludejavu on the pricing- $2K for non-sterling and $3K+ for sterling. I, too, think it looks sterling and I would check to see if any of the conchos screw off. Really beautiful saddle, I love really nice western tack.


                            • #15
                              That's a nice older saddle. Those are well made, solid, saddles. I would keep researching for comparables and not do anything hasty.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by katarine View Post
                                That's a nice older saddle. Those are well made, solid, saddles. I would keep researching for comparables and not do anything hasty.
                                Yes-- it's a very nice example in nice shape and worth more because the matching bridle comes with.

                                For helping your friend get the $$$$ she deserves and the purposes of helping to preserve nice tack as her DH did, you need to get the help of someone who deals with western tack collectors.

                                I wish I could tell you how to find the right appraiser or place to sell. But this is specialized and national market. With EuroFolks getting into reining, the community may be international. I don't know, but you should find someone who does.

                                Some of those guys will bitch because your saddle is too young for their taste-- they like "primitives," you know? There are others who will appreciate what you have. Promise.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat


                                • #17
                                  If you can e-mail photos directly to me ( <coloredcowhorse@yahoo.com> ) I have some contacts among cutting, reining, reined cowhorse folks that are bigger name trainers and many of them are collectors or know people who would collect.....sold one of them a signed dated first edition book about 5 years ago for almost a thousand...and he gave it as a Christmas gift to his apprentice trainer. Don't let go of it just yet.....needs more research to know exactly what you have there and its value.
                                  Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                                  Northern NV


                                  • Original Poster

                                    CCH - I am emailing photos as we type!!!

                                    Did screw off a concho and it is silver plated, not sterling.

                                    Everyone tell your friends!!!!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                      That one in the link looks like an arabian show saddle, with the housing that round.

                                      Your saddle may still have "round" skirts, but not be quite that much, or may have truly "square" skirts, although those are not generally found in older show saddles as much as they are today in some performance saddles.
                                      I have that exact vintage saddle in the link and it is for an Arabian. I loved riding in that saddle.
                                      Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


                                      • #20
                                        You might be able to do some research for comperable saddles here:


                                        At least to get an idea of what other folks are pricing them at, and what they are selling for.
                                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams