Chief Joseph’s War Shirt Sells for $877,500
RENO, Nev. (AP) — A war shirt worn by Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce tribe has sold for $877,500 at auction in Nevada.
Chief Joseph wore the shirt in 1877 in the earliest known photo of him, and again while posing for a portrait by Cyrenius Hall in 1878. The painting was used on a U.S. postage stamp and now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.
The photo and portrait showing the war shirt were made shortly after Chief Joseph led 750 Nez Perce tribal members on an epic 1,700-mile journey from Oregon to Montana in an unsuccessful bid to reach Canada and avoid being confined to a reservation.
Mike Overby, an organizer of the annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, says the shirt that sold Saturday is considered to be one of the most important Native American artifacts to ever come to auction.
American Indian scholar Theodore Brasser says its visual appeal and appearance in the photo and portrait of Chief Joseph makes the shirt unique.