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ORIGINAL SINGLE BEADED MOCCASINS AND BEADED STRIPS – VERY NICE DISPLAY PIECES OR GOOD SOURCES FOR OLD BEADS:  If you have been collecting old Native American beadwork for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed a phenomenon that is prevalent, if not unique, to that genre of collecting – that of the “single moccasin”.  Contrary to the occasional feeble attempts at humor, 19TH Century Native Peoples were no more inclined to be one-legged than any other ethnic group, but their footwear does show up frequently on the market as a single specimen, the mate forever separated and presumably held in a separate collection.  

Despite the impossible odds against it happening, I know of two incidents where pairs of moccasins that were separated at some unknown point in the past have been reunited in recent years.  One pair of Lakota child’s mocs which now reside in my wife’s collection were found as singles within weeks of each other at two antique shops several hundred miles apart.  Go figure.   

I have been told by several older dealers through the years that they suspected the moccasin pairs were separated either at the time they were collected under circumstances where the baggage of a village was looted and a pair was divided at the time, or more recently, a pair was split up by descendants arguing over the dissolution of an early collector’s estate.  While such a division makes little sense, there’s a lot of things people do that doesn’t make sense, so I guess splitting up a pair of mocs scores pretty far down the scale of importance. 

Acquired from an old collection, I have these single moccasins and beaded pieces to offer.  Each is listed below with a basic description and accompanying photographs. 


NO. 1  FULLY BEADED MOCCASIN:  Measures 10.5” long, 5” wide.  Very pretty periwinkle blue background.  Thread and sinew sewn beadwork.  Beadwork is in excellent condition with no missing beads.  The pliable upper is made of native brain tanned leather with a complete rawhide sole.  (0355)  $450


NO. 2  EARLY BEADED NORTHERN PLAINS MOCCASIN:  Measures 10” long, 4.5” wide.  Sinew sewn beadwork in a simple, but very effective early pattern.  Beadwork is in excellent condition and fully intact.  The pliable upper is made of nicely aged native brain tanned leather with a complete rawhide sole.  (0356) $425


NO. 3  EARLY BEADED NORTHERN PLAINS MOCCASIN – PROBABLY CHEYENNE:  Measures 10” long, 4” wide.  The design is a classic combination of attractive colors which strongly suggests this is a Cheyenne piece.  The sinew sewn beadwork is in excellent condition and fully intact.  The upper is made of nicely aged native brain tanned leather with a complete rawhide sole.  The upper is generally pliable with some stiffened spots which could be softened.  There are tears at the front corners on both sides of the foot opening and a hole back towards the heel on the inside (see photos).  All could be repaired with a little time, sinew, and patience.  In spite of the obvious age and wear, this could be a very nice display piece with a little TLC.  (0357) $300


NO. 4  HIGH TOPPED BEADED MOCCASIN:    Measures 10.5” long, 5” wide.  The thread sewn beadwork is in excellent condition with no missing beads.  The pliable upper and soft sole is made of the same very heavy native brain tanned leather which may well be moose hide.  The moccasin is a high topped style, high enough to have tied above the ankle and perhaps made for winter wear.  (0358)  $400


NO. 5  NORTHEASTERN BEADED MOCCASIN VAMP:  Measuring 2 ¾” wide across the straight base, 4.5” long toe to instep, this moccasin vamp or toe panel is typical of the beadwork and style of the Northeastern tribes such as Iroquois and Seneca. Thread sewn, the beadwork is complete with no bead loss, done on black wool.  (0359)  $45


NO. 6  BEADED STRIP – POSSIBLY AN ARMBAND:   This strip appears to have been an armband, possibly Sioux.  Measuring 11” long and 1” wide, the beadwork featuring dark blue and yellow chevrons on a white background is sewn with sinew.  The strip is stiffened, and has broken at the mid point.  There is some minor bead loss along edges, but it is minimal.  An old red ribbon is attached to one end.  (0360)  $50 

NO. 7  BEADED STRIP:  Measuring 8” long and 1” wide, this beaded strip, featuring diagonal stripes on a light blue background is thread sewn.  Some of the beadwork is missing, with about 6” of the length of the beaded section remaining and the native tanned leather strip is still pliable.  (0362) $30

NO. 8  BEADED STRIP:  Measuring 10” long and 1 ¼”, this beaded strip, featuring three pairs of multi colored diamonds on a light blue background is sewn with sinew.  The beadwork on strip is complete and intact, but some of the edge beading is worn away.  The native tanned leather strip is pliable and would be fine to use.  (0361)  $70


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