*** 46th Anniversary 1969-2015 of our American Indian Art Gallery now located in Aliso Viejo, California ***

Nation's largest selection of Antique American Indian Art,  Navajo Rugs and Navajo Blankets and old antique American Indian baskets

Jeff Wood, President ; Len Wood, Founder (Retired)

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Toll-free phone (800) 579-0860     E-mail:  info@indianterritory.com






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Orders : Toll-free phone (800) 579-0860 Tue-Sat 11-4 Pacific Time   or    E-mail:  info@indianterritory.com





We Buy and Sell Estate Collections of Antique American Indian Art


NEW ADDRESS : 36 Argonaut, Suite 120 , Aliso Viejo CA 92656 Open Mon-Fri 11-4 By Appointment Only ; Online Catalog/Shopping Cart Open 24/7




Len Wood's
Indian Territory, Inc.

Jeff Wood, President
The Nation's largest

selection of Navajo Rugs, Indian Baskets and Antique

American Indian Art


Len Wood's

36 Argonaut , Suite 120

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

phone: (949) 497-5747 
orders: (800) 579-0860
(email orders anytime;

 phone orders Mon-Fri

 11-4 Pacific Time )


Gallery Open By Appointment Only

Mon-Fri 11-4

Pacific Time



Basketry Care and Maintenance

Most Collectible Baskets are Antique Circa 1880-1930

Most collectible Native American baskets that exist today were made in the period between 1880-1930.  This period marks the beginning of the Collector Period when collectors were able to purchase new condition baskets directly from the weavers.  Few baskets prior to 1880 exist as these items were utilitarian , even as objects of beauty, and were discarded when they no longer could be repaired.  In addition, many western tribal cultures, especially in California, cremated baskets along with clothing and other personal possessions during funeral ceremonies, reducing the number of early baskets extant. (In the photo below an unidentified Native California Indian prepares baskets, clothing and other possessions of the deceased for cremation ceremony. This is an early twentieth century photo.)


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Picking Up A Basket

Never let anyone pick up your basket by the rim or with one hand only ; always pick up a basket with clean dry hands by the base --or center bottom-- and support it with both hands. Show others the proper way to hold a basket if it is necessary for others to hold the basket. Some baskets --such as Alaskan Tlingit baskets and Attu Island sea grass baskets are as fragile as old parchment paper; and even sturdy baskets such as Apaches can be damaged by holding the full weight of the basket by a small section of rim alone.

Do Not Coat Basket in ANY Substance

At certain points in collecting history it was a fad among a very few collectors to shellac their baskets in an attempt to "preserve" them.  Coating with ANY substance is unnecessary and can, in fact, significantly reduce the value of the basket as a collectible.  A few old baskets have been found that were dipped or rubbed in oil, presumably to keep them from becoming brittle.  This also is not only unnecessary but also attracts so much dirt and dust to the basket that they become black and un- displayable.  Baskets such as these are very difficult, and often impossible, to professionally clean. Needless to say, much of the collector's value of  baskets treated in this manner is lost.


A feather duster is the best way to dust a basket that is not kept in a display case. For deeper cleaning where needed dampen a white 100% cotton cloth (cotton diapers work well) very slightly with clean cold water and blot gently; let basket air dry completely. Soaking a basket in water can result in the swelling and popping of stitches. For deeper cleaning needs for your basket collection, please contact us for a free quote on professional cleaning or restoration services.

Other Things to Avoid

Basketry care mostly centers on avoiding problem-causing situations as there is little other formal "care" involved. 

Because oil and grease can build up on kitchen surfaces, it is best to place baskets away from the stove and preferably outside of the kitchen area.  Excess moisture and humidity makes bathrooms and basements a poor choice for display.

Most baskets are placed in living rooms, dens, formal dining rooms, business offices, hall galleries, libraries "collection" rooms, bedrooms, studies and the like.

Other Quick Tips

1. If baskets are to be displayed in a room with long-term heavy smoking it is a good idea to invest in a carbon-filter air system. Good systems are available in the low hundreds or less and can be purchased on the internet. It will save your baskets, (as well as drapes, furnishings etc.) from discoloration .

2. Place baskets away from the heater vent. (Heat from heater vents can increase brittleness)

3. Place baskets away from direct sunlight which can fade baskets.

4. Avoid areas (basements, bathrooms) where water condenses on surfaces. Baskets kept in damp places (especially in storage) for long periods can develop mildew discoloration--nearly impossible to restore.

5. If baskets are to be stored for some time be sure the storage sight is free of insects and rodents. Be sure the baskets are professionally packed in bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts and double box fragile baskets. Be sure no heavy items are placed on top of stored baskets.

6. Baskets not being displayed or enjoyed should be considered for possible sale as most damage to baskets occurs in long term storage in a garage, basement, cellar, storage unit or warehouse. If you have baskets not currently being displayed or enjoyed, please contact us for a free appraisal of your collection as well as "no obligation" offers of both purchase and consignment (higher offer). Please see this page for more information.

Moving, Packing, Shipping, Transporting

The best way to package a basket for transportation in most cases is to wrap it well in Bubble-wrap and place it in the center of a new cardboard shipping box allowing at least four inches in every direction for packing material (Styrofoam "peanuts" or other "fill material"). For extra protection on your most valuable and/or fragile examples , double box inside a box that is also at least four inches larger in each direction filling the space between the inner box and outer box with additional fill material.

Formal Insurance Documents and Archival Documents

While our free e-mail appraisals are appropriate for those with collections for potential sale, collectors seeking to hold their collection large term would be advised to obtain a current formal appraisal document suitable for both insurance and archival purposes.  Such documents are highly detailed, signed and dated on letterhead stationary, and are available for a modest fee. A free quote is available by email at info@indianterritory.com


Navajo Rugs   -  Indian Baskets  -  Pueblo Pottery  - Antique Beadwork - Hopi Kachinas

 Always Buying Old / Antique American Indian Items : Navajo Rugs and Navajo Blankets,  Indian Baskets and other Native American Indian items!


(Please note that all items are subject to availability and that prices are subject to change without notice. Photos and information may be re-used with email or written permission only. (Email: info@indianterritory.com)  Websites are free to link to this page or any pages on our site but may not copy and publish any photos or information on their sites without email or written authorization from Len Wood's Indian Territory.    Thank you.)

                              Copyright 1994-2015 Navajo Rugs Indian Baskets at Len Wood's Indian Territory, Inc.