Historically significant set of buckskin garments worn by famed frontiersman "Antelope" Ernst Bauman (sometimes spelled Baumann), consisting of a fringed sack coat and matching fringed trousers. The sack coat is made of fringed elk hide with lighter colored cuffs, that were evidently worn rolled up, showing an unsoiled appearance. A wide fringed collar tops the coat body with seven buttonholes yet no buttons intact; six period rawhide tie replacements are still firmly attached (buttons were removed in the era and were likely worn while Bauman served as a cavalry scout.) Two exterior fringed pockets are on each breast. Traces of red wool flannel are seen inside the coat - all that remains of a full red wool flannel lining (traces of blue flannel are also seen along upper back panel.)
The trousers match the same hide as the coat and are lined with a medium brown canvas for the pocket and waistband. Military-style brass dish buttons are on the waistband and fly - two suspender buttons are missing. Three horizontal fringed pockets appear on the legs and the right hip with a hidden watch pocket on the right waist. Original rawhide laces still thread the adjuster vent on rear of waistband. Cuffs are faced with a two inch band of hide.
"Antelope" Ernst Bauman was born in Berlin in 1854 and migrated with his family to Buffalo, New York as a child. Drawn to the western frontier as a young man, he drifted to Denver, where he worked as a game hunter for railroad construction gangs. Known as a crack marksman, Bauman worked with William "Wild Bill" Cody and eventually signed on as a cavalry scout. He was present with Custer's 7th Cavalry during the Yellowstone Campaign of 1876 and survived the Little Big Horn massacre as part of Reno's detachment. After his scouting days, Bauman offered his services as a guide for wealthy game hunters, including a young Theodore Roosevelt. Bauman's last days in the West were in the mining business, from which he retired and returned to Buffalo in the early 1890's. The last decades of his life he operated a family butcher shop, where relics of his frontier years were proudly displayed, including the "buckskin jacket worn at the Battle of the Little Big Horn."
Two buckskin coats were part of this collection - the above coat and a jacket presently in the Autry National Center collection. The latter is the same jacket seen in the famous cabinet card portrait of Bauman and exhibits none of the grime found on these garments. Considering the extensive wear and soiling seen on this coat and trousers, these are likely the garments worn during that fateful of June 25, 1876. This lot and the related Bauman saddle were consigned to Cowan's from a direct descendant; an undated local newspaper story (probably from the 1950's) describes the family relics and accompanies the lot.
Condition is "as found" from the Baumann family and both garments show the accumulated wear and soiling of years on the frontier. A few period repairs are seen on trouser pockets vents. Honest patina of western history throughout.