The Rev. William Barnaby Faherty is a trusting soul (The
following text appeared only in the Three Star Edition) - no match
for American Indian art dealer Tom Julian. (End of text)
Faherty lent American Indian art dealer Tom Julian five
valuable Indian items from the museum on the campus of the old St.
Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant. The loan was for three months.
Eleven years later, the items are still gone.
The deal happened in 1985, two years before news of a scandal
at the Missouri Historical Society. More than a dozen American
Indian items were missing there. Director Raymond Pisney was fired.
Julian was the middleman in that scandal. He said he had taken
the items in a trade with Pisney. He led the FBI to some of them
and never was charged.
Four weeks ago, Faherty read in the Post-Dispatch that Julian
once again was visiting area museums. A story July 28 reported that
Julian has been claiming to represent Indian tribes eager to
reclaim human remains and sacred items under a new federal law.
Faherty last week told a reporter of the seminary's losses and
provided a loan document signed by Julian in 1985, photographs of
two of the missing items and a historical accounting of their value.
Faherty said he had lent Julian two pipes, a fringed hide shirt
and two sets of beaded leggings that had belonged to Father Peter
DeSmet, the pioneering Jesuit missionary who visited Western tribes
in the 1840s.
"Those were gifts from the Indians to Father DeSmet," Faherty
Photographs of the hide leggings show both pairs were decorated
with pony beads, the earliest beads used by American Indians.
The leggings also had quill decoration; Indians used dyed bird
and porcupine quills as decoration before Europeans brought beads
The leggings, which reach from ankle to hip, also are decorated
with either human or horse hair and painted with abstract designs.
The photos were faxed to an expert on Plains Indian material,
Richard Pohrt, co-owner of the prestigious Morning Star Gallery of
Santa Fe, N.M.
"I haven't seen a great pair of pony-beaded leggings in some
time," Pohrt responded by telephone. "They'd probably be worth
$40,000 to $45,000. Somebody might say a little more. I don't think
they would be much less."
The seminary had five pipe stems in its collection. Julian
"borrowed" two. Of the three left behind, one is nearly 4 feet long
and decorated with intricate quillwork and a shock of dyed horse
There are no photographs of the missing pipes, but Pohrt was
given a description of the best one still in the collection.
"A 4-foot quilled stem, that's pretty major," he said. "That
would be in the range of $40,000 to $50,000. One sold at Sotheby's
a couple of years ago for about $80,000."
Faherty did not have a photo of the missing hide shirt and
could not recall whether it had quill or bead decoration.
A fine example of early hide war shirts can bring hundreds of
thousands of dollars on today's market.
The DeSmet connection with the materials increases their value.
"I remember when the insurance people came out one time to look at
the collection," Faherty said. "Anything DeSmet touched went up."
`Doesn't Ring A Bell'
Reached last week at his home in Minnesota, Julian said he did
not recall taking the items from St. Stanislaus seminary.
"Doesn't ring a bell," he said.
But Faherty recounted the spring afternoon in 1985 when Julian
and a second man showed up at the museum at 700 Howdershell Road.
Both, Faherty said, were knowledgeable about art, but he could not
recall the second man's name.
Asked how Julian might have found the museum, which is not
well-known outside North County, Faherty said: "He probably heard
about it from somebody at the historical society. I knew Ray