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The Western Belt Buckle

   By: James Hunt

The cowboy belt buckle did not originate until the turn of the 20th Century. Though the thought of collecting antique belt buckles of the famous cowboys who rode the ranges of the Wild West is nice, the reality of it was the cowboys usually wore suspenders or buckles that were derived from military friction buckles. It was Hollywood and the Western Movies that gave rise to what is known today as the Western Belt Buckle.

From the first half of the century there were famouse names in the manufacture of belt buckles. These include: Don Ellis, Michael Srour, Al Pecetti, William Nelson, John McCabe, Les Garica, Edward H. Bohlin, and Robert Schaezlein. Today there are many producers of custom buckle makers but these pioneers of the industry are the ones that are most prized for collections.

Some of the most popular belt buckle styles include the patriotic flag belt buckle; the American eagle is another common symbol on belt buckles and a very good seller for manufactures. The eagle design varies greatly, sometimes depicting the eagle in flight, or just the eagle's head. Another popular design is the cowboy riding the bronco, and the Confederate Flag.

Smaller belt buckles of less than 3 ½” inches across are popular with women where men usually prefer belt buckles that are larger than 3 ½ inches across. These are typically what people think of when they hear "Cowboy Buckles". Many of these are rodeo or stock show trophy buckles.

The motifs, designs, and patterns on the larger belt buckles considerably diverse. Some are simply for ornamentation, for example it may feature a pair of gold cowboy boots, a horseshoe design, a horse's head, and the list goes on.

Smaller buckles often have more elaborate pictures to compliment their size. Horse cameos are predominantly popular, as are illustrations of the western lifestyle, such as a miniature cowboy on a bucking bronco.

The western belt buckle is both rustic and stylish and a good bet for any collector.

James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at

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