Rare Cabinet Card of Heck Thomas

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5 1/2" x 3 7/8", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". Pawnee Gallery, MISS NORA HANSON, Pawnee, O.T. photographer’s imprint on front of card. Numbers written in blue ink on front of image, corresponding to verso. Written in ink on verso, in Heck Thomas’s hand:

“1 Spotted Dog Eater / left of

2 Morris Robacker, Police Osage

3 H.A. Thomas

4 Howling Wolf

5 Havinghurst Clerk U.S. Court

6 Roy Hoffman / U.S. Pros, Atty”

Provenance: From Heck Thomas's great grandson to Robert McCubbin.

Robert McCubbin: “This photo is my favorite of any Old West lawman. Heck is obviously ready to take the field, probably with the Osage lawman and the two Indian Scouts. With the identifications on the back written by Heck himself.”

Robert McCubbin: “In 1998 a friend put me in touch with Colin S. Monteith III, a great grandson of Heck Thomas, Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory Deputy Marshal in the 1890s. I arranged to visit him at his home in Atlanta to have a look at the photo album he inherited from his great grandmother, the first wife of Heck Thomas. We reached an agreement for me to buy all the original photos and other items in the album and I would provide copies to be put in the album to replace the original photos. This was one of the best additions to my collection. I was especially pleased because Heck Thomas was the best of all the lawmen of the West in my opinion. I had previously visited Heck’s daughter Beth Thomas Meeks, still living in Norman, Oklahoma, at the age of 91. She was the youngest of the children of Heck and his second wife. She generously gave me a photo and a letter that I particularly liked.”

Lot 217, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $15,000-20,000.

H.H. Heiser Presentation Display Saddle with Bohlin Silver Mountings

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Two great makers, one great saddle. Incredible Heiser floral tooled saddle with Sterling silver mountings attributed to Edward H. Bohlin. Two-toned brown tooling with bucking horse on both fenders and “AS” (or “SA”) brand. The brand is repeated in silver engraving on top of the horn. Circular “HEISER / DENVER” mark on the 14” seat. Bohlin silverwork is rope edged and engraved, with raised conchos and classic Bohlin details. Rope edge sterling cantle binding and matching gullet mounting. Initials “B.B.H” engraved on silver plate on back of cantle. Complete with an original Bohlinmade marked brown and cream corona.

Lot 573, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $20,000-25,000.

“Last Stand” Note on Cigarette Paper, Signed Wm. Bonney

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Written in pencil, on a small cigarette paper, signed Wm. Bonney. Said to have been discovered in a shell case in the Florida Mountains of Southwest New Mexico. Single-sided. 2 7/8" x 1 1/2". (Shown actual size.)

It reads: “This is our last shell and about 10 Indians left so our chances look slim But we are going to take a chance yours truly / Wm Bonney”.

Ex: Maurice G. Fulton Collection

From the Robert G. McCubbin Collection

Includes a letter dated August 2, 1952, from Maurice G. Fulton to Robert A. Mullins that mentions the cigarette paper. Both Fulton and Mullins were well-respected, 20th century historians, authors and collectors of the American Southwest, and particularly the Lincoln County War.

Robert McCubbin: “This is one of those ‘too good to be true’ things that makes one very skeptical. However, the signature and handwriting stands up well when compared to the Tascosa receipt from WH Bonney to Henry Hoyt, especially considering the thin cigarette paper it is on and the conditions under which it was written (under an Indian attack!) Fulton, from whom this came to me after his death, wrote in a letter, “if the note was planted by a modern boy, he would have unquestionably signed it ‘Billy the Kid’…” It is also not likely anyone faking and hiding it would have gone to the trouble to try to duplicate an authentic signature. The fact that Fulton, a reliable historian, seemed to think it the real thing has significance. Anyway, I find it to be an interesting item.”

Note: This lot has no estimate.

We cannot certify that this item is authentically a note from William H. Bonney, and therefore do not know what the estimate should be. It seems that Maurice Fulton felt it was authentic. Bob McCubbin finds it persuasive. We find it to be an interesting historic artifact regardless, but are simply unwilling to commit without more provenance. Therefore, you’ll just have to decide for yourself.

Lot 712, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
No estimate.

Joe Beeler (1931 - 2006) CA

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The Hungry Sign
Oil on board
20" x 34"
Signed lower right: JOE BEELER / CA
Verso: signed, titled and dated 1978
Framed to 30" x 44"
Published: "Joe Beeler - Life of a Cowboy Artist," by Don Hedgpeth, page 23.
Ex: J Bar 7 Ranch Collection, Quanah, TX

Lot 559, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $20,000-25,000.

The Famous, Signed "Dental School" CDV of Doc Holliday

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3 3/4" x 2 3/8", mount size 4" x 2 5/8". O.B. DE MORAT’S, PHILADELPHIA photographer’s imprint on verso. Written in ink on verso in Holliday’s hand, “J H Holliday D.D.S / Valdosta, Georgia”.

Provenance: Obtained by Robert McCubbin from Carolyn Holliday Manley. Includes typed and signed history and bill of sale.

From the typed history: “The photograph in question belonged to John H. Holliday’s first cousin, Martha Ann Holliday, who was the Sister of Charity mentioned in the Ryland obituary as being the only member of the family with whom he kept in touch and to whom his personal effects were sent after his death… Since Doc Holliday signs himself DDS on the back of the photograph, he must have already had his degree from Philadelphia and returned to Valdosta to practice. The picture may, in fact, have been a picture he had made on the occasion of his graduation.”

Robert McCubbin: “This is one of only two original adult photographs of Doc authenticated by the Holliday family.”

Lot 356, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $70,000-90,000.

Cabinet Card of Robert Ford

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5 7/8" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". LOZO, St. Joseph, Mo. photographer’s imprint of front of card. Printed on front of card, “ROBERT FORD.”

Robert McCubbin: “The best and most famous photo of Ford, but the gun he is holding did not kill Jesse!”

Lot 348, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $10,000-15,000.

Rare 1895 Cattle Industry of Texas Book with Case

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An outstanding copy of a scarce and important work. “The Cattle Industry of Texas and Adjacent Territory: Historical and Biographical, 1895”. By James Cox. First Edition. Woodward & Tiernan Printing Co. Saint Louis. “Presentation Copy in Full Crimson Morocco” leather, this is the only known copy in this original presentation binding. Signed "Compliments - Woodward & Tiernan Printing Co - Nov. 1906 - St Louis Mo." in ink. Color frontispiece, "A Stampede" is present and sharp. One of the "Big Four" cattle books. With custom case. Edges show slight wear.

Graff 891; Herd 593; Howes C820; Merrill Aristocrat, page 17; Adams "Six-Score" 24; Jenkins Basic Texas Books 34.

Lot 627, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $15,000-20,000.

Edward H. Bohlin Extraordinary Show Spurs

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Custom, one-of-a-kind filigreed spurs by Edward H. Bohlin. A stunning achievement constructed of 10k, 14k, 18k and 22k gold, along with sterling silver. Maker marked, “Bohlinmade / Hollywood / Calif.” Fully-mounted sterling silver blanks with rose gold filigreed floral pattern heelbands, raised rose gold floral stylized straight shank, and yellow gold rope edge. 2-piece, 2 1/8”, 20-point rowels with gold point inlays and 1-inch gold Bohlin Indian Head rowel covers. The spur “straps” are solid silver dove wings, with rose gold filigreed centers, and yellow gold flowers with inset rubies all around. Yellow gold rope edges on the straps, which are attached to swinging buttons with 1 1/2” rose gold Bohlin Indian Head conchos.

Neither subtle nor understated, they are quintessentially Bohlin.

Lot 603, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $25,000-35,000.

Ice Mallet used to Kill Outlaw Ben Kilpatrick

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The Wooden Ice Mallet that Killed Ben Kilpatrick, with Photograph and Wells Fargo Archive

a) Wood Ice Mallet used by Wells Fargo Express messenger David A. Trousdale to kill the famed Wild Bunch gang outlaw Ben (“The Tall Texan”) Kilpatrick during the attempted robbery of Southern Pacific Railroad Train (Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railway) on March 12, 1910.

b) The famous postmortem photograph (mounted) of bandits Ben Kilpatrick and Ole Hobeck with messenger Trousdale holding up Kilpatrick's body. Taken at Sanderson, Texas. Unmarked photographer’s card. 7" x 5", mounted to 8 ½” x 6 ½”.

c) Wells Fargo & Co. Express Album or Folio containing original documents related to the robbery and the mallet. Compiled and preserved by Fred J. Dodge and Gerrit A. Taft. An entire archive of original ephemera, including telegraphs, signed statements, newspaper clippings, correspondence, waybills and more.

G.A. Taft was General Superintendent of Wells Fargo & Company Express, and Fred Dodge was a Captain for the Company at the time of the robbery.

From the Robert G. McCubbin Collection

From Trousdale’s official signed account of events:

“I thought if there was any chance for me to get the advantage of him, it would be by taking him back through my car, where I could find some means of “Turning the tables” on him. We passed through the combination car, and I opened two or three packages of express, and he took his knife and cut one telescope grip open. He took out a Mexican hat and said there was nothing in the baggage that he wanted. I told him that I was not getting fighting wages and did not care how much he took out. In this way I gained his confidence and he quit treating me as roughly as he had been. Before this, he would jab me with his rifle and command me around in a boisterous manner. When we passed by a stack of oysters, I had an empty packer standing in about the center of the car, and the robber and I had to pass between the oysters and packer, and this crowded me close to the oysters, and as we passed, I picked up the ice mallet which was lying on them. I placed it behind my overcoat so that he could not see it and got him away from the door and showed him a package which was going to Sanderson, and told him that that package was worth more than all he had gotten, I thought. He rested his rifle against his leg and started to pick up the package in his right hand. While he was in this position I saw my chance, and so the first blow I struck him was at the base of the skull, unjointing his head from his neck. Then I struck him two more blows in the top the head after he had fallen, and knocked his brains out the third blow.”

Lot 632, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $50,000-80,000.

Two Lots: CDVs of Charlie Bowdre and Wife

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CDV of Charlie Bowdre and Wife. 3 3/4" x 2 1/4", mounted to 4 1/8" x 2 1/2". Furlong, Las Vegas. photographer’s imprint on verso. Written in pencil on verso: “Charlie Bowdre”. Written in ink on verso: “Picture to Mrs. & Mr. Tom Yerby”.

Includes signed letter from former owner detailing the provenance of the CDV.

Lot 163, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $50,000-75,000.

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CDV of Charlie Bowdre and Wife (With Blood Stains). 3 1/2" x 2 1/4", mounted to 3 7/8" x 2 1/2". Denver Photographic Rooms photographer’s imprint on verso. Written in pencil on verso, “Charlie Bowdre”. Image is stained with Bowdre’s own blood.

Robert McCubbin purchased this photograph from Jarvis Garrett (Pat Garrett’s son) in 1975. Jarvis said it was taken from Bowdre’s body by his father after Garrett’s posse killed Bowdre and captured The Kid at Stinking Springs.

Lot 164, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $75,000-125,000.

Cabinet Card of Pat Garrett

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6" x 4 1/8", mounted to 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". Furlong, Las Vegas photographer’s imprint on front of card.

Notations in ink on verso, "Pat Garrett, Roswell, N.M." with "Elizabeth Skipwith Craven & John W. Skipwith, 10/27/70" below.

Robert McCubbin: "One of the best photos of Garrett and taken close to the time he killed the Kid".

Lot 167, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $30,000-40,000.

Two Cabinet Cards of Texas Rangers

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Cabinet Card of Texas Rangers. 4" x 5 7/8", mounted to 4" x 6". Photographer unidentified. Notations on verso are in ink and pencil, listing names of all fourteen Rangers.

Robert McCubbin: "Company D, Frontier Battalion, c. 1888. Includes Capt. Frank Jones (who was killed several years later on an island in the Rio Grande downstream from El Paso). Also includes one of the few images of Bass Outlaw, who was later killed by El Paso constable John Selman, after a drunk Bass Outlaw shot another Ranger behind Tillie Howard's brothel."

Lot 190, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $10,000-14,000.


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Cabinet Card of Texas Rangers. 4" x 6", mounted to 4 1/8" x 6 1/2". Photographer unidentified. Notations in pencil on verso list the name and rank of each man of the Company F, Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers 1888.

Lot 191, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $6,000-8,000.

Family Photo Album of Heck Thomas

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a) Large Mounted photograph Heck Thomas and fellow lawmen, seated.

b) Large Mounted Photograph of Heck and fellow lawmen, Lawton, Okla. 6 5/8" x 8 1/2" image on 10" x 12" card Wade Photo.

c) Cabinet Card of Belle Thomas, Heck's first Wife. Written in ink on verso, "Mrs. Heck Thomas / Mrs. Belle Gray Thomas / about 35." Image size 6" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4".

d) Mounted photo of woman and child. Probably Heck's first wife, but unidentified (lost with missing portion of card). What can be read is "Frances" and "__1, 1901." Image size: image is 5" x 3 1/2" oval, mount size 8" x 6" at largest.

e) Cabinet card of John Carroll. 6 1/8" x 4, mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4".

f) Cabinet card of Heck's daughter from his first wife. 6" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". Written on verso: "Mary Jane Age 2 1/2 years.”

g) Cabinet card of Heck's daughter from his first wife. 6" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4".

h) Cabinet card of Heck's son from his first wife. 6" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4".

i) Cabinet card of W.H. Sandels. 6" x 4", mount size 6 3/8" x 4 1/4".

j) Cabinet card of Heck Thomas. Notations front and back for "Uncle Heck" - Henry Andrew Thomas. 5 3/4" x 4", mount size 6 1/2" 4 1/4".

k) Cabinet card of Heck Thomas and woman. 5 1/2" x 3 7/8", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". Heck with rifle and double gun belts, standing with one of the two Hitchcock sisters who were clerks in the Marshal's office. Heck is carrying his Winchester rifle, Colt Single Action in holster, and wearing his famous crescent and star badge on his chest.

l) Cabinet card of Heck Thomas and woman. 5 1/2" x 3 7/8", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4". Obviously taken during the same sitting as the other Swearingen photo, this time Heck is wrapped head-to-toe in a blanket, and the woman is wearing the gun belts and holding the rifle. Heck was known to have had a good sense of humor.

m) Cabinet Card of Heck Thomas. 7 1/2" x 4 3/4", mount size 8 1/4" x 5 1/4". McCubbin: "This is my 'second favorite' photo of Heck. This one came to me from his daughter Beth. Her signature, 'Mrs. J.B. Meeks' is on the back, and the date 1891 is penciled beneath the photo."

n) Photograph of Heck Thomas and son. 6 5/8" x 4 5/8", mount size 10" x 8". Written on verso: "Heck Thomas / H.G. Thomas Sr. / Papa / Brother / Taken out West when Brother went to see Papa."

o) Photograph of Heck in a one-horse buggy. 3 1/4" x 3 1/4", mount size 4" x 5". On typed card affixed to back: "Heck Thomas About 1905…"

p) Cabinet card of Bill Doolin in death (killed by Heck Thomas). 5 1/2" x 4 3/4", mount size 6 1/2" x 4 1/4".

q) Photograph of Madsen & Tighlman. 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". Written on back, " 'Bill' Tilghman (at right) and 'Chris' Madsen" Other writing on back illegible.

r) Photograph of Heck and sons. 7 1/2" x 5 1/4", mount size 7 1/2" x 6 1/2".

s) Photograph of Heck Thomas and Texas Express Officials. 7 1/8" x 8 1/2". Heck Thomas front and center, with notations on front and back. In ink on verso: "This picture was taken in Fort Worth, Texas, about 1878. / I do not know the names of any of these men except Sam Findlay - they were all friends and fellow huntsmen of my father."

Robert McCubbin: “In 1998 a friend put me in touch with Colin S. Monteith III, a great grandson of Heck Thomas, Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory Deputy Marshal in the 1890s. I arranged to visit him at his home in Atlanta to have a look at the photo album he inherited from his great grandmother, the first wife of Heck Thomas. We reached an agreement for me to buy all the original photos and other items in the album and I would provide copies to be put in the album to replace the original photos. This was one of the best additions to my collection. I was especially pleased because Heck Thomas was the best of all the lawmen of the West in my opinion. I had previously visited Heck’s daughter Beth Thomas Meeks, still living in Norman, Oklahoma, at the age of 91. She was the youngest of the children of Heck and his second wife. She generously gave me a photo and a letter that I particularly liked.”

Lot 218, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $15,000-20,000.

The Original, Famous "Fort Worth Five" Photograph that Doomed the Wild Bunch

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7 1/16" x 9", mount size 7 5/8" x 9 1/4". Swartz, FORT WORTH, TEX. photographer’s imprint on front of image lower left. Typed on paper affixed to verso, “THE WILD BUNCH / Left to Right: Standing: Wm. Carver; Harvey Logan / Sitting: Harry Longabaugh; Ben Kilpatrick, Geo. Parker, alias “Butch Cassidy”.

This is THE original photograph that was discovered by a police detective at the Swartz Photography Studio in Fort Worth, which was subsequently obtained by the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons had copies produced of each individual bandit for distribution to other police agencies.

Provenance: Obtained by Robert McCubbin directly from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

True West Magazine: “The “Fort Worth Five” photograph became a part of history when a lawman recognized the wanted men in a photograph hanging at picture taker John Swartz’s gallery in Fort Worth, Texas. When the Pinkerton National Detective Agency got wind of this Wild Bunch Gang photo, taken in 1900, the Pinkertons printed the mugshots on wanted posters that circulated across the West… This photograph not only helped immortalize the frontier desperados, but also helped bring about the gang’s downfall.”

Lot 282, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $100,000-150,000.

Two Lots: Bloody Bill Anderson

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Cased Ambrotype of Bloody Bill Anderson. 2 3/8" x 2" (oval), case measures 2 7/8" x 2 1/2". Photographer unidentified. Back half of case only.

Robert McCubbin believes this to be of the famous Confederate guerrilla, Bloody Bill Anderson, Captain of Quantrill's Raiders.

Lot 327, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $15,000-20,000.


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CDV of Bloody Bill Anderson. 3 5/16" x 2 1/4", mounted to 3 7/16" x 2 7/16". Unidentified photographer. Printed on front of card: "The Notorious Guerrilla Chief, WM. T. Anderson."

True West Magazine: “This rare carte de visite of Bloody Bill Anderson, one of the Civil War’s bloodiest pro-Confederate leaders, was made from the photo found on Anderson’s body when he was killed by Union soldiers in 1864.”

Lot 328, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $8,000-12,000.

Alex McSween Letter Assuring Charles Fritz to Trust Him

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Dec 12, 1876. Handwritten letter from Alex A. McSween to Charles Fritz, regarding the Emil Fritz Estate, and assuring Fritz that McSween is trustworthy and has only Fritz’s best interests in mind. He writes, “$10,000 is a very large amount of money, but I can assure you that it’s not large enough to buy me.” He advises Fritz not to trust the Murphy-Dolan men. He writes, “I like to be on good terms with mankind, but I’ll incur their displeasure rather than sell the interests of those who confide in me.” Signed A.A. McSween, with flourish. One page, double-sided, 10 3/8" x 7 3/4".

An absolutely incredible letter, especially given the ultimate course of events.

Lot 716, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $20,000-25,000.

Cabinet Card of Ben Thompson, Inscribed to King Fisher

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7 3/4" x 3 3/4", mounted to 8 1/8" x 4". H.R. Marks, Austin, Texas. photographer's imprint on front of card. Written in ink on verso "To my friend King Fisher / Ben Thompson / Austin, Texas March 11, 1884".

Inscribed by Thompson to Fisher on the day they were both gunned down. Taken from Fisher’s pocket, the back is stained with Fisher’s blood.

Robert McCubbin: "One of the highlights of the collection"

A Blood-Stained Memento

By Robert McCubbin for True West Magazine, April 1, 2006 (excerpted)

“They met that March 11, 1884, in Austin, Texas, by chance or plan… we don’t know for sure. But their meeting was to be an historic and a tragic one.

Ben Thompson and John King Fisher were two of the most notorious gunfighters of the Old West… It isn’t clear how well the two knew each other before that day which was to be their last on earth. In any case, they would have had much in common to bring them together. They both were flamboyant, worked both sides of the law and liked to drink, gamble and party. On March 11, 1884, they were drinking buddies out having a good time, first in Austin, Texas, and later in San Antonio.

After meeting up in Austin, Thompson gave Fisher a cabinet photograph of himself taken a few days earlier by Austin photographer H.R. Marks. He boldly inscribed it on the back, “To my friend King Fisher, Ben Thompson, Austin, Texas, March 11, 1884.” Fisher slipped it in his coat pocket, and the friends proceeded on their rounds. Later that evening in San Antonio, Fisher and Thompson were gunned down in the Vaudeville Theatre.

The San Antonio Daily Express was quick to pick up on the memento when it reported on March 13: “While in Austin, King Fisher had been given a picture of Ben Thompson by Ben, and had the photograph in his pocket when killed.” Although the photo was not penetrated by any of the numerous bullets that entered King Fisher’s body, it had been stained by his blood.

As a collector of historical photographs, I must admit that this cabinet card is quite a find. There are three major areas of collecting Old West Antiques: Original photographs, autographs and relics (such as guns, knives, hats, chaps, spurs, etc.). Among the most sought-after and valuable are original photographs and autographs of the gunfighters, outlaws and lawmen, and relics that can be documented as having belonged to them. It is indeed rare when something falls into all three categories, as does this Ben Thompson photograph. It is even more exciting to a collector because it relates not just to one, but two of the most notorious Old West gunfighters … inscribed by one … and with the blood of the other.

This historical treasure was apparently returned to Fisher’s family in Uvalde, Texas, following his death. The photograph resurfaced about 15 years ago when an elderly lady from the Uvalde area presented it to a lawyer in San Antonio.

When I first learned of the photograph, needless to say, I was excited, anxious … and nervous. It seemed too good to be true. But it was! It’s also rare to find a photograph that has been documented by a newspaper of the time.”

Lot 248, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $25,000-35,000.

The “Rose of Cimarron” / Bitter Creek Newcomb Winchester Rifle

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S/N 202799B, .44-40 cal, Model 1873, 20" octagon barrel, shipped from the factory 4/19/1886. Later name plate added, engraved “ROSE OF CIMARRON”.

An incredibly interesting rifle with complicated history and provenance.

“Rose of Cimarron” was an alias for a friend of Doolin-Dalton Gang and sweetheart of gang member, George “Bitter Creek” Newcomb.

There is a popular and often-quoted story about the battle at Ingalls, O.T. in which Rose carries this Winchester to Bitter Creek in the midst of a “hail of bullets,” before she and one of the gang members (thought to be Bill Dalton), hoist the injured Newcomb on his horse, with Dynamite Dick leading it away, and all leaving the rifle behind to be confiscated by the authorities.

There is another version of the story in which Newcomb rides off of his own accord, but the rifle is left behind when he is killed at the Dunn Ranch in May 1895, leaving the rifle behind to be confiscated by the authorities.

Some people say Rose of Cimarron never even existed, and some know for a fact that she did.

Included in the lot are a number of original documents related to the rifle and the legend. Of note is an original 5-page letter from Zoe Tilghman to collector James D. Horan. She writes in the letter, “Bitter Creek with the others had reached the livery barn where their horses were. He lay on the ground in front of it when Rose reached him. One, I think Bill Dalton brought his horse and she held it while he put Bitter Creek on. He held to saddle horn and rode off with others but fell near the wire fence. They saddled their horses and rode out the back door of livery barn, along a draw, not deep, just a low swale. Rose went back to the hotel…”

Also included is a typed and signed document from E.D. Nix, U.S. Marshal, dated July 17, 1895: “Received of J.D. Sims, $35.00, in payment for Bitter Creek's rifle, abandoned where they put him on his horse, making their escape, during the fight at Ingalls. It is also filed as, Rose Dunn Rifle. This is a 44 cal. Winchester. No. is 202799B. It was picked up by Marshal Jim Masterson. E.D. Nix [signature] U.S. Marshall." With “Department of Justice” stamp. Also included is an unrelated letter with Nix signature for comparison.

An included letter from Glenn Shirley, dated 1993, disputes the existence of Rose of Cimarron, but authenticates the Nix letter and U.S. DOJ stamp.

The rifle is clearly of the era. The name plate in the stock was obviously added at a later date, most likely by a collector for display purposes.

Lot 636, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $20,000-30,000.

The Personal Photo Album of John Wesley Hardin, Including Two Images of Hardin

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Thirteen total images included, consisting of nine tintypes, two CDVs, and two albumen photographs. Album measures 3 5/8" x 5” x 3/4" thick overall. Embossed leather cover, "J. H. Swain" (a Hardin alias). Each family member is identified in pencil beneath the photograph, in Hardin’s hand. Written in pencil on the inside front cover: “1876”. A loose tintype of Fred Dederstadt is laid into the front of the album.

Provenance: Descended through the Hardin family. From Amanda Clements, the daughter of John Wesley Hardin’s cousin, Joe Clements; to her son, Joe Hardin Clements; to Robert McNellis; to Robert McCubbin.

Accompanied by a signed letter by Robert McNellis detailing the provenance of the album and how he came to have possession of it.

The photographs are as follows, with the names that are written on each page of the album:

a) Tintype of Fred Duderstadt, 2 1/2" x 2" in the original 4" x 2 1/2" paper sleeve (separate from album). Nereus Baldwin, Wichita, Kansas photographer’s imprint on verso. Written in ink on verso, “Fred married Hettie Tennillo mother’s sister”. Also written on verso in pencil, “Fred C Duderstadt”.

b) Tintype of Jane Hardin (daughter). "Little Jane".

c) CDV of Mannen Clements"Mannie C."

d) Tintype of John Wesley Hardin. "J.W. Abalene [sic] 1871". The only known original in existence.

e) Tintype of John Wesley Hardin, Jr. “Little John”.

f) Tintype of Jane Hardin (wife). “Dear Jane”

g) Tintype of Jane Hardin (daughter). "Jane". (oval)

h) CDV of Hardin’s Mother. “Mother H”.

i) Tintype of John Wesley Hardin, Jr. and Mollie Hardin. “J.W.H. Jr. & Mollie”.

j) Albumen photograph of Hardin’s Father. “Daddy H”.

k) Tintype of Ham Anderson. “Ham A.”

l) Tintype of Joe Hardin. “Brother Joe.” Both Ham Anderson and Joe Hardin would be killed in the Sutton/Taylor Feud violence. The Hardin Family fought on the Taylor side.

m) Albumen photograph of John Wesley Hardin. "John Swain / 1875".

Lot 357, Brian Lebel's Old West Auction - January 25-26, 2019. Mesa, AZ.
Estimate $75,000-125,000.