Briscoe Sanderson’s Yosemite Store Museum Collection

Holabird-Kagin Americana is proud to present a major collection assembled by Briscoe Sanderson over several decades. Briscoe is perhaps best known for his famous store, the Yosemite Trading Company, which he opened at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. He successfully operated his shop until 2000. Briscoe’s love for Native American culture was encouraged throughout his life by his family and personal connections.

The youngest son to E.T. “Hefty” Sanderson and Lorraine Honea, Briscoe was raised in both Hawthorne, Nevada and Lee Vining, California. Hefty was elected Mineral County Sheriff four times, and his Law Enforcement career spanned over 35 years, earning him national recognition for his ability to protect his community. Briscoe’s stepfather, Stan Hess, was the last living Chief of the Paiute Indian Tribe at Mono Lake, and encouraged Briscoe to learn Native American culture at an early age.

It was at Lee Vining High School, where Lorraine graduated with the first graduating class, that Hefty met and courted her, taking her to dances in nearby historic Bodie, California. Many of the Bodie Antiques offered in Briscoe’s Collection come from the Moyle General Store, owned by the Moyle family. The Sanderson family continues to be close personal friends of Alvin Moyle, who has held the Tribal Chairman’s position for the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe for many years.

Briscoe was a 17-year-old high school junior when he moved to Lee Vining, California to live with his mother and stepfather. Briscoe opened the Yosemite Trading Company at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, when he was 19 years old. Through his unique upbringing and entrepreneurial positioning, he was able to learn the Western Native American cultures, and add to his personal collection the most desired pieces. In 2000, Briscoe closed his last store to pursue other interests.

Today, his prized possession remains the Indian Chief created by Tom Domiani, one of 17 such pieces signed and dated by Tom Domiani c1959. Domiani was a very talented artist who was well-known throughout the American West for his finely detailed character models. The Chief is considered Domiani’s ultimate work. We are unaware of any such offering by public or private sale in recent memory.


Click here to view the collection being offered in the 2013 April Treasures & Tribes Auction

This entry was posted in Articles and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.