Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Original Trading Post

click for enlargement

I have always been visually intrigued with the colorful facade of this store because it contrasts so sharply with the surrounding adobes of the Santa Fe Plaza area, and I have passed by many times over the years believing it to be little more than a common souvenir shop of no interest to me. That was before my discovery of Jonathan Batkin's scholarly book, THE NATIVE AMERICAN CURIO TRADE IN NEW MEXICO. I subsequently realized that for Indian Arts aficionados and dealers, this piece of commercial real estate is hallowed ground. It has changed very little since 1901 when Jake Gold, after his forced banishment, returned to Santa Fe to partner in opening this curio store with his pawn broker friend J.S. Candalerio. For most of the last century it was a must see attraction in Santa Fe for the common tourists and many a famous personality. Today, its charm and history is most often overlooked, and even when mentioned, it is not emphasized in the guidebooks of Santa Fe. The jewelry cases and back wall of the store are still crowded with authentic Native American silver and stone treasures and the postcard rack is full as it has always been. This place is still a must stop for the enlightened and it is worth making a purchase even if only to claim with a wink and a nod, "I got it at Jake Gold's old curio store" in Santa Fe, New Mexico.