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Tony Baratono

Birth place or City of origin: Trinidad
State of origin: CO
Last known City: Colorado Springs
Last known State: CO
Start/Birth date: 1923
Death/End date: 2015

One of the mainstays of this wonderful world of Western Americana passed away in March of 2015. Tony Baratono was one of those rare people who had joy in his heart and shared it with all he met. Of all the things ever said about Tony, these words repeat over and over again: He enjoyed life. He enjoyed people. He had a big heart. He was a happy man.

Born in Trinidad, CO in 1923, Tony grew up working in his family-owned lumberyard. But he also worked in the local movie theater and discovered the beauty and art of the movie posters, realizing that he had an eye for beauty and value. His most prized “deal” was at a dance in Trinidad where he met Catherine, his future wife. He wouldn’t leave her alone, wanting to dance every dance with her. She finally gave in, married him and they laughed together for 66 years. Between raising their daughter, Jeanie, and working in Colorado Springs, Tony found the time to drive around Colorado, visiting California and Arizona with his family, learning wherever he went. He became knowledgeable in so many areas and when he began trading Western artifacts, he became an expert in saddles, spurs, chaps, hats and art. And as he gathered knowledge, he also gathered friends from around the country. He mentored traders, collectors and artists, when others did not and shared information when others wouldn’t. In his later years he even became a fixture at “Western Horseman Magazine”, writing, helping, giving.

The NBSSCA honored him into their Hall of Fame in 2003 and many artists sketched for their friend in his personal book. His family misses him. We all miss him. He was a happy man.

After he retired from trading he was for years an icon, sitting at the front entrance of the High Noon Show, wearing his High Noon jean jacket. It was auctioned at Brian Lebel’s 2016 High Noon’s Auction in Mesa, AZ, donated for the NBSSCA Crisis Fund fetching $1000.


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