Edward Bohlin was born in Sweden in 1895 and heard stories of the American West at a young age. He dreamed of coming to America and making a name for himself in the Wild Wild West. At the age of 15, he ran away from home and made it to America by way of a four-mast schooner; it wasn’t long before he arrived in Cody, Wyoming, where he opened his first saddle shop.
Bohlin’s career began in the 1920s, and by the 1930s, he became known as the finest western silversmith. He crafted superb saddles, buckles, spurs, and gun belts for Hollywood stars when Westerns topped the movie charts. Shortly after, he designed saddles and outfits for TV shows like the Long Ranger. In addition, Bohlin created magnificent parade outfits and floats for the Tournament of Roses. The parade made its first appearance in 1890 to celebrate the New Year. Since 1902, the Rose Bowl has followed the parade, which helps fund the parade’s cost.
Bohlin was a perfectionist; he never accepted anything less than the best craftsmanship. The leather on his saddles still squeaks after 60 years, and the silver requires only a cloth to clean because he used the highest grade of sterling silver.
A pair of Bohlin’s spurs were recently auctioned and set a record price. They were part of his personal parade outfit that took him and several additional artists 14 years to complete. The rest of the outfit is in the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. The intricate leather artistry, stainless steel, silver, and gold make these spurs instantly recognizable (maybe his initials are a give-a-way too), as they were once on display at the 1967 World’s fair. The pair were estimated to bring $100-125K and doubled the low estimate when they merrily galloped their way to $200K ($236K w/p).