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Genuine Garcia Bits & Spurs

Collectors seek vintage Garcia bits and handmade spurs like a pirate seeks treasure. Unfortunately, the market has been flooded by imitation products.

Garcia pieces built prior to 1978 are generally divided into three distinct periods:

  1. G. S. Garcia, from 1896 to 1933
  2. Salinas’ Garcia Saddlery from 1945 to 1958
  3. Les Garcia, Reno, from 1960 to 1978.

The gap between 1933 and 1945 was due to a shortage of materials caused by World War II.

The Different Garcia Marks

The pieces from each era are distinguished by different makers marks, which are stamped into the inside of the bit or spurs.

  • Pieces from the G. S. Garcia period bear a variety of marks in different sites, depending on the maker and the year made, but all are a variation on the basic “G. S. Garcia, Elko, Nev.” A few pieces bear an additional initial that represents the maker, though few of Garcia’s employees were allowed this privilege.
  • Pieces bearing a backwards N (in Nev.) are commonly believed to have been built between 1910 and 1920. Pieces from the Salinas period are marked with the words “Garcia Saddlery Co./ Salinas, CA.” Les Garcia’s work sometimes bears the mark “Les Garcia/ Reno,” or simply “Garcia.”
  • Current pieces bear the mark “Garcia/ Elko Nev,” along with a serial number. This numbering system has been in use since 1985.

Remember, though, that any mark can be easily duplicated with modern equipment, and also there are some older Garcia pieces that are not marked.

Remember, too, that while sterling or fine silver is used today, older bits and spurs were built using coin silver, a much harder metal. Taking into account the harder silver and the more primitive tools of the time, it is only natural that early Garcia pieces bear engraving much coarser and less detailed than today’s work.

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