Spurring Interest

The invention of the automobile may have driven them out of style but today they are getting a second look from collectors. The Saturday Early Show's Collectibles Expert Tony Hyman, author of Trash or Treasure: Guide to Buyers, examines collectible spurs.

Horsemen have used spurs since the Middle Ages but today’s collectors prefer those made in the 1800s and early 1900s.

The least sought after are brass cavalry spurs, worth $50 to $100, with the price depending on whether they have rowels, the spiked wheels on the back.

Next in popularity are heavy Mexican spurs with large rowels. If inlaid with silver, they can bring $200 to $600 a pair. Spanish spurs have smaller rowels, narrow heel bands and fine inlaid gold or silver decorations. They can bring $300 to $1,500 a pair with the top money going to those with ornate, lacey rowels.

Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to sat@cbsnews.com with "What's It Worth?" in the subject line. Or write to "What's It Worth?" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10019.

Texas spurs are not as ornate as the Spanish or Mexican varieties. Instead of sporting sterling silver inlay, the Texas ones are usually overlaid with nickel hearts, diamonds and steer heads. They're very hot with collectors and have brought $5,000 a pair. Top money goes to spurs made by Bass, Boone, Buermann, Crockett, Kelly and McChesney.

California spurs tend to be smaller than Texas spurs. They are covered with fine floral engraving and silver inlay and are often decorated with conchos. California ones can bring more than $10,000. Top makers include Morales, Figeroa, Arios and Tapia.

Texas spurs tend to be one-piece constructions. The shank that holds the rowel and the heel band are hammered from one piece of metal. California spurs, on the other hand, tend to be made in two pieces, with the shank attached to the band.

Another top name is G.S. Garcia, whose spurs have brought $15,000 or more a pair. But his spurs are widely faked, so unless the spurs have been in your family for the past two or three generations, it may be a good idea to avoid buying them without expert advice.

If you're thinking of investing in spurs, don't buy ones with brass rowels. They are probably of no collector value. Many are highly decorated, however, and their inexpensive price makes them ideal for appearance wear

For more information on collectible spurs, Hyman recommends Lee Jacobs. He is a 25-year veteran collector and dealer and the author of J.R. McChesney: A Lifetime, A Legacy about one of the premier spur makers. Jacobs can be reached by mail at: Box 3098, Colorado Springs, CO 80934.