The first firearm to be forensically proven to have been at The Battle of the Little Bighorn sold for over a quarter of a million dollars at the 27th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona.
MESA, AZ – It was standing room only with a crowd of nearly 800 people at the 27th annual live auction of authentic Western art and artifacts, where 435 lots crossed the block at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa for Brian Lebel’s High Noon auction presented by Old West Events. Total sales topped $1.5 million, with the top lot of the night – the historic, Indian-used Custer Battlefield Sharps Rifle – bringing $258,750 to a bidder on the phone. With nearly as many registered phone and Internet bidders and live bidders, the bidding was fast-paced and exciting, with an overall sell-through rate of 92.6%.
Other notable sales from the auction included the back cover lot, an Edward Borein watercolor, which sold within estimate at $51,750. Lebel’s auctions specialize in Borein’s work, and currently hold the auction record for a Borein watercolor. Another impressive lot of the evening was the Keyston Bros. World’s Fair Exhibition saddle, which hammered well over estimate after a spirited bidding war between the floor bidders and a determined phone bidder, with the floor ultimately winning the exquisite saddle for $115,000.*
Cowboy trappings were particularly strong this sale, with an impressive pair of spurs that belonged to the legendary Charlie Sample bringing above estimate at $34,500. A stunning engraved Colt Single Action realized over triple its low estimate, selling for $18,150. The first of two Old West Events auctions offering items from the estate of Snuff Garrett, the sale proved that both Snuff and his collections remain well remembered and respected. Snuff’s Roy Rogers Nudies outfit, for example, brought $12,260, more than twice its low estimate.
Brian Lebel, auction owner, is thrilled with the sale and enthusiastic about the art and auction markets. “A number of important things happened at this auction,” says Lebel. “I am happy that cowboy material is making a strong comeback, and I am very happy to report that we sold a significant number of lots to buyers who are brand new to us.” He adds, “There is a perception that the western collectibles industry is in the hands of a few select buyers. I can assure you after the results of the Mesa auction, and the sheer numbers of new and seasoned successful bidders, that this is not true.”
Old West Events also hosts a weekend vendor show in conjunction with the auction. The show drew a record number of vendors at 183, as well as record breaking attendance numbers, with well over 3,000 people attending. Numerous vendors reported having, “Our best show ever!” or “Our best Mesa sales ever!” Says Lebel, “Early buy-in was extremely high, and Saturday crowds were unlike any we’ve seen in over a decade.” Next year’s 28th annual Mesa show and auction is scheduled for January 20-21, 2018, and the annual Fort Worth Show & Auction will be held this June 10-11, 2017.
More information on all of Old West Events’ shows and auctions – including the full prices realized list for the current Mesa sale – can be found on the website www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.
*(all reported prices include buyers premium)