I know nothing about these spurs except that a man gave them to me 67 years ago when I turned 16. The gentleman told me that they were made in Texas and that only a few were made. I don’t remember the name of the town.
I loaned them to a man at a roping event once and he would not return them to me. I had to send the sheriff to him to get them back.
I would like to know the town where they were made. I haven’t used the spurs for the last 61 years.
V. E. “Dr. Mac” McWilliams DVM
Your spurs were made by Joe Bianchi who immigrated to the United States in 1885. His older brother, Paul worked as a blacksmith and in 1901 he and Joe started Bianchi Brothers Blacksmith Shop in Victoria, Texas. Joe married in 1905 while Paul stayed single. In 1909 Joe split from Paul to concentrate on bit and spur making in a workshop next to his home while Paul continued all types of blacksmithing. Paul died from influenza in 1919.
In the 1920’s Joe Bianchi produced small pocket size catalogs that created a larger market for his work. But it was the style of the shanks on the spurs that Bianchi was famous for. The bottle opener shanks were also known as “the Victoria shank”. You can actually open a bottle with the shank.
Some general characteristics of these spurs is that they were overlaid with silver with no engraving. And Mexican coins were used over the spur strap buttons and usually the rowel pin area. An exception is that sometimes U. S. coins were used.
Not every pair of his spurs had the “Victoria shank”, Joe offered a spur model #4 that was a straight shank rather than the bottle opener shank.
What is unique about your pair of spurs is that the rowel area does not have coins attached and the coin over the strap button is domed rather than flat. These features are not unheard of, they just are not as common as flat coins on the buttons and small coins over the rowel area. Another unusual feature is the way that HAND is stamped inside one side of the inside of the heel band and FORGED is stamped on the other side of the inside of the heel band. I expected the words to be together.
What I can’t tell you is if the spurs could have been made by the Bianchi Brothers working together or by Joe on his own.
In the late 1930’s Joe used stainless steel and other alloys to make his spurs more durable against the salt marsh environment of South Texas. He taught Raymond Bego how to make the spurs and Bego continued after Joe’s death in 1949.
I like that your spurs are in extremely good condition. Many of these spurs deteriorated quickly in South Texas. Your spurs have been preserved by you not using them and the milder conditions where you live.