Historic Native American Shirt Sold at Auction for $877K


  • This photo released by the Coeur D’Alene Art Auction shows a war shirt worn by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe that sold for $877,500 at auction Saturday.

A shirt worn by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Tribe and immortalized in a painting hanging at the Smithsonian Institution sold for $877,500 at a Reno auction Saturday.

Chief Joseph posed for an 1878 painting, which was also used on a U.S. postage stamp. The shirt, made of two deer skins and featuring bright beadwork, surfaced at an Indian relic show in the 1990s.

Chief Joseph led 750 Nez Perce tribal members on a 1,700-mile journey from Oregon to Montana, but were forced to surrender in 1877, when U.S. troops stopped the group from entering Canada. Instead, they were confined to a reservation.

The Associated Press reports that officials with the Coeur d'Alene Art Auction, sponsors of Saturday's sale, said high bidders for the shirt were "private collectors."