CLA Auction 2013 Trade Silver Shell Gorget by Wayne & Marilyn Holcombe

For more information about the auction or CLA: Contemporary Longrifle Association

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During our second year of commemorating of the War of 1812, the 2013 CLA Fund Raising Auction promises to be another significant event. Twenty-five generous CLA artists have stepped forward to create their art and donate it to be auctioned at our Annual Meeting and Show on August 17, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Everyone is in for a real treat. Not only will you be getting an advance preview of the 2013 fund raising auction items here, but you will have an opportunity to get to know these artists, learn a little about them and how they created this fine array of items for the auction. Individual works will be added to this site as they are received, so visit often to see these new exciting creations.

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Trade Silver Shell Gorget by Wayne & Marilyn Holcombe

Brooklyn, Michigan residents Wayne and Marilyn Holcombe are silversmiths by trade and operate XX TRADE SILVER.

XX Trade Silver began 10 years ago when their close friend, Chuck Leonard, a premier silversmith taught them the art of silversmithing. Wayne chuckles when he relates how it all started.

“I was involved with competition black powder shooting, and Marilyn accompanied me to a lot of shoots through the years. One day Marilyn mentioned to Chuck Leonard that she got bored at the shoots, so Chuck told her that he would show her something that will make it a little more interesting. At that time Marilyn started her study of silversmithing, and I came under the spell, too. Under the guidance of Chuck, we have developed our art, started our company and have become regulars on the Living History and Trade Fair circuits. When we’re not on the road, we call Brooklyn, Michigan home.”

Before the husband and wife team learned the silversmithing trade and launched their business, Wayne worked with master gunmaker and wood carver John Bivins in Raleigh, North Carolina during the ‘90s. Together they did museum restoration and carved colonial period high-art wood installations for museums and private clients.

After returning to Michigan, Marilyn and Wayne began their research and schooling in the art of silversmithing, and both attribute Chuck Leonard as their inspiration to become silversmiths.

They work in sterling silver specializing in the re-creation of authentic trade silver pieces from the early 18th century to present. All of their silver is period correct, by using the same tools and processes as the original silversmiths. They also create their own designs upon request. And as Wayne and Marilyn put it, “We do lots of custom orders.”

The sterling silver “Moon” or “Shell” (also sometimes referred as gorget) is closely copied from one (circ. 1760) found in Tugabachee, Alabama. Several examples of these type trade silver items are shown on page 68 in the book, SILVER IN THE FUR TRADE 1680-1820 by Martha Wilson Hamilton.

Decorated with two buttons, it is rocker engraved “South Carolina” with a tulip motif and a wave designed border. A design composed of two opposing triangles that represent a thunderbird of the upper world; the four diamonds represent a rattler of the underworld; in the middle a cross represents the four cardinal directions. It resides in the collections of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, AL.

The historical significance of this silver shell and the quality of the Holcombs’ work make it a most attractive piece to be added to one’s collection – or to be worn by discriminating Natives Americans and Indian living history participants.

To see more of Wayne and Marilyn’s work visit their website

Click here to see more images of the Trade Silver Shell Gorget by Wayne & Marilyn Holcombe

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The photo and text used here are from the CLA article with the same name. The sole purpose here is to benefit the CLA Auction in August. — editor


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