A young Ed Bohlin
Edward H Bohlin Company
LKL: Hollywood, CA
Born in Sweden in 1895, Edward Bohlin ran away from home at age 15, working his way to America on a huge four-mast schooner with dreams of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West in his head. Ed worked cattle drives around Montana before opening his first saddle shop in Cody, Wyoming where he did rope tricks in front of his shop to draw business.
He met Tom Mix while performing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and Mix convinced Ed to stay and produce silver and leather items in the Los Angeles area. From his humble beginnings to his fame in Hollywood for high-end pieces, Ed crafted more than 12,000 Bohlin saddles including many grand silver outfits of Tournament of Roses Parade fame. He also dressed many silver screen heroes and horses with his grand style of buckles, spurs and gun belts. His company was without equal among western style silversmiths building a reputation on flawless workmanship. The Edward H Bohlin company, which operated from the early 1920s through the 1980s (under Ed's watchful eye but continues to operate under other ownership), reached its apex in the 1930s when the Hollywood cowboys reigned supreme. Bohlin was a stickler for details and employed the finest silver and leather workers of his era to satisfy discriminating clients including Mae West, Hopalong Cassidy, Monte Hale, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
Roy Roger's Diamond Special Bohlin Saddle
Ed Bohlin was known for his beautifully crafted parade saddles. A perfectionist, for good and bad, he never accepted anything less than the best craftsmanship. The leather on his saddles still squeak after 60 years. The silver requires only a cloth to clean because he used the highest grade of sterling. He and his artisans made many of the pieces by hand, especially the gold figures on his saddles. His carving was stunning and recognizable. Many of High Noon's customers remember going into Bohlin's shop as children while their fathers purchased saddles, buckles, belts, bolos and money clips. Some time the kids got a special gift, too, from their dads. A few child's saddles (The Jackie Cooper model) were made to match their fathers' for parades. The Tim McCoy model and others were made for the stars of the era. Fiesta was truly a work of art, both in the silver and the pictorial carving. The Murietta was one of his brilliant models, mounted with Indian and Tepee design with distant hills all done in three shades of gold. The Dicksons were used many times for riders who wanted to twinkle with silver in parades.
Bohlin saddles have always been valued higher than any other maker and have kept their value throughout the years. Both riders and collectors of Western Americana still clamor for Bohlin, whether they plan to ride using them or only to display them proudly in their offices or living rooms as art.
Edward H. Bohlin's personal filigreed gold buckle
Ed wanted the riders of his saddles to look elegant and match the beauty and artistry of the outfit. He made fine matching vests, chaps, belts, gunbelts, bolos, hatbands, and buckles to dress his riders. The most personal of Bohlin's buckles were made, some by his own hand. He made buckles to honor horses, longhorns, rodeos, ranches and women. He used sterling silver, gold (in 3 colors) rubies, diamonds. He cut the metals to form lacy overlays, and bound the edges to look like rope. Matching gunbelts were made of the same fine leather of the saddles with the same elegant silver spots and engraving. Special gun grips were fastened to Colts and other pistols and shotguns, all sterling silver and gold, with matching buckles.
Bohlin spurs are also highly coveted. Bohin made magic with plain Crockett blanks when he covered them with fine silver and gold, making leather straps and conchos to match. The same for bits, which were highly sought after and matched the headstalls and breast collars of the parade outfits.
Bohlin also had a sense of humor and would make anything the clients wanted. Mae West was a favorite and he fashioned a sterling silver telephone for her use. He made silver picture frames, pin, conchos, bolos, satchels and desk sets.
Bohlin loved his customers and they loved him. Memories of Ed in his shop are still vivid whenever you slip that leather belt around your waist and cinch it up with that Bohlin buckle.
SOLD for $24,000.00
Exact pair of spurs (not just the style) pictured in both the 1930 and 1937 Bohlin catalog as Pattern No 422, this double-mounted exquisitely engraved, silver overlaid late 1920s ladies iron spurs with the 1 1/2" - 20 point rowels enhanced with double scalloped silver washers, were made for Mabel Yorba of the illustrious Yorba family. They feature her initials in raised gold letters on the heelband and have solid nickel heel chains. The two-piece floral carved Bohlin straps have 1 1/2" scalloped conchos with a raised gold horsehead. The three-piece buckle sets appear to be handmade - possibly by Bohlin himself. Humbly described in the Bohlin catalogs as the most attractive spur on the market. Though unmarked because of their very early pre-1930s date, the catalog picture is sufficient evidence to satisfy any skeptic as to their Bohlin origin and they are, arguably, the earliest documentable pair of Bohlin cowgirl/ladies spurs extant
SOLD for $2,400.00
a) 28” round continental kit cover with a three dimensional sterling rider (12” x 11”) atop a Bohlin Hexagon saddle on a brass (?) horse with two Bohlin silver seat plates designed exclusively by Edward H Bohlin; b) Carved leather steering wheel (half) cover; c) Bohlin engraved gas pedal; d) Bohlin engraved brake pedal; e) Frontier model Derringer (Ser #351, non-operational) with silver Bohlin grips and gold initials AM on both sides; f) Bohlin emergency brake cover; g) Three white leather tonneau covers autographed by Elvis Presley (twice) Debbie Reynolds, Guy Madison, Rex Allen Roy Rogers & Trigger, Bob Taylor, Ben Johnson, Tex Williams, Monte Hale, Andy Devine, Audie Murphy, Dale Robertson, and more; h) Misc Chrome auto parts and mountings. Includes copy of original Bohlin receipt
SOLD for $600.00
John B Stetson No. 1 Quality dark green size 7 1/8". Uncreased Cowboy Hat stamped Edward H Bohlin / Hollywood and Palm Springs/California. Outstanding condition, c 1950s
SOLD for $14,000.00
1930s Edward H Bohlin silver overlaid, Hollywood, California, maker-marked stainless steel spurs with a 2 1/2" shanks, 1 3/4" cookie-cutter rowels. Bohlinmade, Hollywood oval football cartouche stamped below the bar affixed to the swinging buttons on the left spur. Right spur made-to-match. Two-piece floral carved, Bohlin marked straps with 1 1/2" scalloped and engraved conchos and 3-piece maker-marked 1/2" engraved sterling buckle sets. Holes drilled on the heelbands for tie downs. Worn extensively by Roy from the early 1940s through the 1950s. Prominently displayed in numerous photos and at the Victorville and Branson RR/DE museums. The brown boots are classic RR custom made with inlaid eagles on the shaft and back quarter and another Eagle on the vamp. Gold inlaid stars cross the top piping with decorative pulls. The boots have a Roy-made 2" slit along the sole, his unique way of breaking in a snug pair of boots -- according to his son, Dusty.
SOLD for $10,200.00
BELT: Edward H Bohlin, Hollywood, California filigreed leather buscadero double-gun rig. Maker-marked and stamped on the back of the belt and both holsters. Gold foil background on the belt, silver background on the holsters, 25 silver bullets in the cartridge loops, perimeter laced, 2 3/4" x 4" engraved sterling buckle with small Bohlinmade maker-mark, half-inch, engraved sterling buckles attach each holster. Measures appx 47" overall and 42" to the middle belt loop. Great condition, c 1950s-60sGUNS: Colt SAA .45 cal, 4 3/4" barrels with aftermarket engraving and stag grips. Ser#160678 (1895), #293932 (1907)
SOLD for $7,500.00
Fabulous floral carved Hexagon pattern Bohlin saddle with a 11 1/2" seat. Maker-marked on seat plate and just below the horn. Gold AM on both sides, silver rope cantle cover, raised Indian head and gold AM on the Pelican style horn, silver star on the corner plates. Saddle, with silver work by Bohlin's Bud Phillips, is a miniaturized version of Art's Hexagon saddle ridden in numerous Rose Parades and other events. Excellent condition. Includes copy of original Bohlin receipt Bud PhillipsBud Phillips accepted an apprenticeship with the Bohlin shop at 5760 Sunset Blvd in the late 1930s, eventually working for the illustrious Hollywood silversmith for nearly five decades. He became one of the masters working in the creation of the Wrigley, Lyndon Johnson and other stellar rigs. As Bohlin's premier engraver, Bud was responsible for fulfilling the exacting standards set by his uncompromising employer. Phillip's later recalled to Bohlin author and expert, James Nottage, that Mr. Bohlin had a real temper wanting things done in only one way - his way. As a similar perfectionist, Art Miller insisted that Phillips work exclusively on the creation of the exquisite Bohlin mounted silver accessories for his custom vehicles and the dazzling results are quite evident.
SOLD for $8,500.00
Fully sterling silver overlaid, maker-marked Bohlinmade Hollywood, Calif parade spurs with tapered heelband, swinging buttons, 1 3/4" cookie cutter rowels. impressive two-piece, floral carved leathers with 1 1/2" engraved domed conchos with raised gold initials GFG JR (George F Getz Jr), gold rope edge, sterling and gold 3-piece Bohlinmade and marked buckle sets with rubies. Superb condition, c 1940s. PROVENANCE: George F Getz. Jr, Industrialist and Arizona Rancher, was the son of the founder of the Globe Corporation, which began in Chicago in 1901 as a coal distribution company. Over the decades the company successfully evolved with the changing times and market opportunities, achieving success in manufacturing and later, banking and finance. George Jr was an early member of the illustrious Rancheros Visitadores, joining the renowned Santa Barbara men's riding group in 1939. Getz retired to Scottsdale, Arizona in the early 1970s taking with him a fabulous collection of fire fighting equipment that eventually became the Phoenix Hall of Flame. Continuing his passion for riding, George frequently rode in Scottsdale's annual Parada del Sol Parade, the world's largest Horse Drawn Parade, taking place every February in Arizona.
SOLD for $106,375.00
Edward H Bohlin, Hollywood, California silver mounted Machris model sterling silver and gold Parade Saddle Intricately floral cared black parade saddle built on a 15" Miles City tree with Matching Briddle and Bit, two (2) Breast Collars, gold Texas longhorns and bucking horses, black and white Corona. One owner, 100% Bohlin, excellent condition, c 1940s (est. $70,000-110,000).
SOLD on January 29, 2011 for $1,800.00
Two-tone brown batwings measuring 37" overall length with Bohlinmade and maker-marked intricately engraved sterling buckle, floral carved tapered billet, 1 3/4" domed sterling Bohlin conchos, Alternating silver diamonds and Bohlin spots on the perimeter. Very good condition, c 1940s
SOLD on January 30, 2010 for $60,000.00
a) Brown Edward H Bohlin, floral carved, double buscadero gun rig, maker-marked with the oval Bohlinmade cartouche on the back of both holsters and the front and rear of the belt. The rig had an unmarked 3-piece 1" sterling and 10K gold, rope-edged, 3-piece ranger set inset with rubies (1 missing) on the buckle keeper and tip. The Bohlin silver spotted holsters have Bohlinmade, 3-piece, half-inch ranger sets; b) Colt SA, 4 3/4" bbl, Ser #41588 with Colt letter to the Roy Rogers / Dale Evans Museum dated 4/7/97 indicating that original .45 cal was shipped 10/18/1877 to Schuyler, Hartlet & Graham in New York. Typical studio plastic stag grips. Re-nickled, diamond & stippled pattern engraving; c) Colt SA .44/40 4 3/4" bbl Ser #281805 with Colt letter to the Roy Rogers / Dale Evans Museum dated 4/7/97 indicating that it was shipped to Simmons Hardware (St. Louis, MO). Standard studio faux stag grips. Heavily polished then re-nickeled, some replaced parts
SOLD on January 29, 2011 for $10,000.00
Adorned with sterling hexagon conchos, the floral carved, leather mounted rigs each measure 21" across and include a single skeleton holster with a 5 1/2" colt SA Ser #139175, 283773(?). Each with rose gold longhorns and gold initials AM plus 32 silver bullets. Guns are non-operational. Plaque on each states Designed and Made by Edward H Bohlin, measures 2 1/2" x 1/2". Hung on the back of each front seat; Single saddlebag, 10" square with a pair of 3-piece, half-inch Bohlin-marked buckle sets. Hung on the front console.
SOLD on January 30, 2010 for $47,500.00
Maker-marked Edward H Bohlin, Burbank & Hollywood silver-mounted double-gun rig with CLAYTON MOORE / THE LONE RANGER / 1982-1986 tooled on the backside. Rig was made expressly for Clayton Moore and worn in numerous special appearances during the 1980s. Rig is identical to the Bohlin gunbelt he wore as the The Lone Ranger. It is mounted with round and square Bohlin conchos separated by Bohlin’s trademark silver spots. The belt is attached via a 1 1/2", 3-piece, engraved, sterling buckle set and the two holsters are secured with 1 1/2" ranger sets. Holsters contain consecutive 4 3/4" .44 special colt SSA Ser #SA34015 and SA#34016 with ivory longhorn grips and colt medallions. Rig includes the Lone Ranger’s trademark silver bullets. Superb condition.