Smoke Signals newsletter

    In The News

Record Crowds and Over-The-Top Auction Results Made for a Very Exciting Weekend in Mesa, AZ at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show and Auction!

Chilly temperatures and rain didn’t deter record crowds and serious bidders from coming out to Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show and Auction the weekend of January 21 and 22, 2017 in Mesa, AZ.

It was standing room only with a crowd of nearly 800 people at the 27th annual live auction of authentic Western art and artifacts, where 435 lots crossed the block. Total sales topped $1.5 million, with the top lot of the night – the historic, Indian-used Custer Battlefield Sharps Rifle – bringing $258,750 to a bidder on the phone.

Custer GunThis Custer Battlefield Gun is the first firearm to be forensically proven to have been at The Battle of the Little Bighorn and sold $258,750 at the 27th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona.

Other notable sales from the auction included the back cover lot, an Edward Borein watercolor, which sold for $51,750 and another impressive lot of the evening was the Keyston Bros. World’s Fair Exhibition saddle, which hammered well over estimate for $115,000.*

Cowboy trappings were particularly strong at this sale, with an impressive pair of spurs that belonged to the legendary Charlie Sample bringing above estimate at $34,500 and a stunning engraved Colt Single Action selling nicely over estimate for $18,150. Items offered from the estate of Snuff Garrett proved that both Snuff and his collections remain well remembered and respected. Snuff’s Roy Rogers Nudies outfit, for example, brought $12,260, more than twice its low estimate.

Following the auction, Brian Lebel was thrilled with the sale and enthusiastic about the art and auction markets. “A number of important things happened at this auction,” said Lebel. “I am happy that cowboy material is making a strong comeback, and I am very happy to report that we sold a significant number of lots to buyers who are brand new to us.” He added, “There is a perception that the western collectibles industry is in the hands of a few select buyers but I can assure you, after the results of the Mesa auction and the sheer numbers of new bidders, that this is not true.”

The two-day show featured a strong showing of vendors as well as record-breaking attendance. At the close of the show on Sunday afternoon, many vendors reported this was their most successful show ever, with numerous vendors reported having, “Our best show ever!” Brian Lebel commented that, “the crowds were unlike any we’ve seen in over a decade.”

Among the incredible finds at the show was this “oh-so-important” guitar of legend Merle Haggard. Not just any of Haggard’s many guitars he used throughout his career, this Martin guitar was specially made for him and was the one he used to record all of his biggest hits over the course of his historic career. On rare occasions, he even shared it with fellow icons like Willie Nelson. If the strings on this guitar could talk, what stories they could tell.

Jeff Boracek with Merle Haggard's guitarPictured here is current owner Jeff Voracek holding the guitar as well as one of the many album covers featuring the guitar being held by Merle Haggard. Interested in owning this iconic piece of country music history? Email Jeff Voracek at

TCAA Emerging Artists Competition 2017

Each year at the High Noon Show, the TCAA (Traditional Cowboy Arts Association) showcases its Emerging Artists Competition and this year the category was saddlemaking. Several of the most talented saddle makers in the country competed for this coveted award, which was presented by Scott Hardy at the opening of the High Noon Auction on Saturday, January 21st.

Smoke Signals would like to congratulate this year’s winners honored for their incredible craftsmanship and dedication to preserving and promoting the cowboy culture in the North American West.
1st PLACE: Mike Eslick, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2nd PLACE: Jean Luc Parisot, Paris, France
3rd PLACE:  Terry Henson, Azle, Texas

For more information about the competition and the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association (TCAA) please visit

TCAA groupPictured from left to right are the winners of the 2017 TCAA Emerging Artists Competition for Saddlemaking: Jean Luc Parisot, Terry Henson, Mike Hislick.

And that’s a wrap on the amazing, exciting and very successful High Noon Show and Auction 2017! For more info and a complete list of prices realized at the auction, please visit

—Jayne Skeff



High Noon logo

Mission Statement

Smoke Signals blows your way from High Noon Western Americana of Los Angeles, California, producers of the High Noon Antique Show & Auction for 25 years (1991-2014). Smoke Signals eMagazine was founded in 2010 from a desire to share thoughts and facts with the High Noon community and look at what is going on in the Western world while feeding our readers with great recipes and giving advertisers a chance to blow their own smoke.

And hopefully we educate along the way.

Linda Kohn Sherwood, Editor

Copyright © 2016 L A High Noon, Inc. All Rights Reserved.