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19TH CENTURY MEXICAN VAQUERO BRIDLE BIT – SILVER INLAYED – COMPLETE WITH CURB AND REIN CHAINS – VERY NICE SPECIMEN:  This is a very nice example of the type of bridle bits used by the 19TH Century Mexican Vaqueros or cowboys, and popular by cowboys in the United States, particularly along the border.  It features genuine silver inlays, not German or nickel silver, but coin quality silver.   

Measuring 7 ˝” tall, 5” wide, this bit is well made, retaining its original form with no bending or misshaping.  The iron has naturally aged to an even plum brown patina, however there is no significant pitting and overall the bit retains smooth, even surfaces.   

The full lengths of the side bars, including the dome-shaped bosses at the ends of the mouth piece, are inlayed with bands of silver.  All of the silver inlays are intact with none missing or defaced.   

The iron mouth piece is inlayed on the tongue side (as it sits in the horse’s mouth) with three copper bands at each end of the bar, applied to “sweeten” the taste of the bit – evidence that this bit was made for, and used by, a true horseman who understood the importance of such a feature.  The use of copper on the mouthpiece is an old feature which made the bit more palatable to the horse’s taste, and encouraged the horse to salivate, thus keeping the bit lubricated.  The copper panels on the mouth piece are decorated with hand applied chased “rocker” engraving.    

The iron curb chain is full length with all the links intact, and retaining the original iron hook for securing the chain under the horse’s chin.   There is a second lighter weight chain between the mouthpiece and the rein chains which is linked to the curb chain, that served to further secure the bit in the horse’s mouth and prevent the mount from spitting or dislodging the bit as it lay over his tongue, rendering the bit incapable of controlling the horse.  Both iron rein chains are full length at 13 ˝” with all the links intact, and are complete with the original attachment hooks riveted to the lower end of the side bars and the original rein rings at the end for attaching leather, braided rawhide or horsehair reins.  All three chains show the remnants to one degree or another of having been originally plated with a thin application of copper, most of the plating now worn away through steady or prolonged use.   

This bit has a very graceful profile despite being a substantially strong design intended for daily use by a working cowboy and it would be a nice addition to any western bit collection, particularly one acknowledging the significant contributions of the Mexican Vaqueros.  (0222)  $475 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 

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