Native American Art Auction at Hubbell Trading Post NHS on September 18

A woven rug was one of the items sold at a previous auction. Photo courtesy of Friends of Hubbell.

Native American Art has been popular with collectors in recent years, but unless you're well-versed in the trade, how do you know you're buying a genuine piece of work? One way is to make your purchase at one of the semi-annual auctions held at Hubbell Trading Post National Historical Site, located on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The next auction is coming up on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

The auctions are conducted by The Friends of Hubbell Trading Post NHS, in partnership with the National Park Service, and feature contemporary and antique Navajo textiles, Pueblo Katsina dolls, pottery, paintings, carvings and baskets from many tribes.

Here's a big plus for buyers: Artists must enter their work for the auction in advance, and "only authentically handmade Native American art objects will be accepted in the auction and at the vendor tables."

According to the Friends group, "The auctions provide Native Americans a profitable outlet for their handcrafted goods," and funds raised by the Friends of Hubbell help "provide scholarships to Navajo and Hopi college students, promote Native American arts and crafts, and aid the National Park Service at the historic site."

The event will include items to fit almost anyone's budget, with auction artwork available at prices ranging from as low as $20 to well over $4,000. Prospective buyers can preview the merchandise from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on September 18; bidding begins at noon.

Here's an important tip if you plan to attend the event: The Navajo Nation is on Mountain Daylight Time, while most of Arizona is on MountainStandard Time. That means it's an hour later at Hubbell Trading Post than it is in places such as Flagstaff and Phoenix.

In addition to the auction itself, arts, crafts and food vendors will be available during the day and the trading post store will be open for visitors. The events are held outdoors in a large tent at the park, which is located in Ganado, Arizona.

The park website includes driving directions and other details to help you plan a visit.