Sterling Silver Buffalo belt buckle by Navajo Roscoe Scott
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Buffalo with Greek Key or Eternal Life symbol above.
Scott - Navajo
NBU217 - $215
What is Overlay?
Overlay pieces are made of two layers. The bottom layer is a solid sterling silver piece. The top layer has a cutout design. The cutout is placed over the bottom layer and the two pieces are "sweated" together, that is heated so that they become one.
The bottom layer (background to the cutout) is usually accented. The Navajo silversmiths oxidize the bottom layer which darkens it. Hopi silversmiths oxidize and etch the background (texturize it) with hashmarks.
Buffalo or Bison?
Because North American bison resembled old world (Asian and African) buffalo, early explorers and settlers called them buffalo, and the name stuck. Although it is a misnomer, the name buffalo is still used interchangeably with bison. One of the physical differences between the old world buffalo and the American bison is the large shoulder hump of the bison. This hump, along with a broad, massive head, short, thick neck and small hindquarters give the animal its rugged appearance.
The Buffalo nickel or Indian Head nickel was a copper-nickel five-cent piece (75% copper and 25% nickel ) struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser.
In a 1947 radio interview, Fraser discussed his design: "Well, when I was asked to do a nickel, I felt I wanted to do something totally Americana coin that could not be mistaken for any other country's coin. It occurred to me that the buffalo, as part of our western background, was 100% American, and that our North American Indian fitted into the picture perfectly."