Custer Battlefield Gun Sells for $258,750 at Historic $1.5 Million Old West Auction

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.

Indian-used Sharps from Custer's Last Stand - Sold $258,750

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.*

Roy Rogers' Nudie's suit (from the Estate of Snuff Garrett), shown in this publicity shot, sold for more than twice its low estimate, bringing $12,260.

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)

Iconic Record Producer, Snuff Garrett’s Western Memorabilia Collection at Auction

Items from Snuff Garrett’s legendary collection of Hollywood Cowboy Memorabilia will be sold at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, January 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.

Snuff Garrett and Roy Rogers.

Mesa, AZ – Old West Events is pleased to announce the auction of items from Snuff Garrett’s Fine Western Collection. One of the most successful American record producers of all time, Snuff Garrett was raised in the golden era of the Hollywood cowboy, and his collection includes original movie posters, fine art, Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor outfits, Edward H. Bohlin custom work, and Roy Rogers’ personal items. Over 80 pieces* from Snuff’s collection will be offered at the 28th annual sale, which will be held live on January 21, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona. An overall total of 439 lots of authentic western art and artifacts are scheduled to cross the block that evening, with pre-auction estimates exceeding $2 million.

Snuff's custom Charlie Russell Riders Directors Chair. Estimate $800-1,400.

Snuff's custom Charlie Russell Riders Directors Chair. Estimate $800-1,400.

Auction owner, Brian Lebel, feels honored to work with Snuff’s estate. “I knew Snuff personally, and well,” Lebel says. “One of the many things that always impressed me about him was not that he had all this great stuff—anybody can buy things—but that he truly loved all the stuff. He was a passionate collector, and I’ve always respected that.”

An auction preview is held on-site during auction weekend. Bidding may be done in-person, online, by telephone or absentee. The auction, bidder registration, and the auction preview are all free and open to the public. A full-color, auction catalog is available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online at bid.oldwestevents.com. The auction is held in conjunction with a weekend-long western art and antique show. The show is held at the Mesa Convention Center; the auction is held at the adjacent Phoenix Marriot Mesa. Details, auction highlights, catalog sales and much more are available at: www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

Roy Rogers' double eagle boots that he gifted to Snuff. Estimate $3,000-3,500.

Roy Rogers' double eagle boots that he gifted to Snuff. Estimate $3,000-3,500.

* Additional items from the collection will be offered at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, June 10, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. Details at oldwestevents.com

About Snuff Garrett (1938 -2015):
Thomas Lesslie “Snuff” Garrett was born in Dallas, Texas. He dropped out of high school, became a disc jockey in Lubbock, and went on to become the most successful record producer of the 1960s and 1970s. A few of his stable of artists included Bobby Vee, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Johnny Burnette, Del Shannon, Cher, Brenda Lee, Nancy Sinatra and countless others. He worked with Phil Spector, Carole King, Leon Russell, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Snuff’s great talent was his ability to know a hit song when he heard one, and know who should sing it. He was, to everyone’s agreement, a genius in that respect.

Snuff loved music, and he loved art. Along with his music friends, and Hollywood friends, Snuff had artist friends. Olaf Wieghorst, Joe Beeler, Michael Coleman, John Hampton, Tom Ryan, Gary Niblett, Harley Brown and many others. Snuff’s home was filled with art from his cowboy artist buddies. It was also filled with movie posters. Framed original lithographs hung floor to ceiling, featuring the antics of Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and the others. These are among the pieces being offered for auction in January and June.

Of his many famous friends, Roy Rogers and Snuff had a particularly special relationship. Snuff grew up on Hollywood cowboys and he worshipped Roy. When, as an adult, he met and worked with Roy, the two became fast friends. Frequently Snuff referred to Roy as a “father figure.” It was clear in the way that Snuff emulated Roy (from his suits to his boots), that he had great respect for the man. They remained dear friends for life. Personal pieces given by Roy to Snuff are included in the sale, including a pair of Roy’s iconic double eagle cowboy boots.

Snuff and his friend, Western artist Olaf Wieghorst.

Personal items of John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Tom Mix and other Hollywood Cowboys at January Auction

John Wayne’s movie-worn shirt, Roy Rogers’ eagle boots, and Tom Mix’s batwing chaps are among the memorabilia of the golden era of the Hollywood cowboy that will cross the block at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction on January 21st in Mesa, Arizona.

Label from John Wayne movie shirt by Western Costume Co. Estimate $3,000-4,000.

Label from John Wayne movie shirt by Western Costume Co. Estimate $3,000-4,000.

Mesa, AZ – Hollywood cowboys are coming to the desert at Old West Events’ annual live auction of authentic western art and artifacts, including personal items from the some of the most famous film and television cowboys of our time. Among the notable collectibles being offered is a John Wayne shirt by Western Costume Co. that Wayne wore in numerous films (estimate $3,000-4,000); a number of personal items from Roy Rogers, including boots, hats and photographs; and many lots related to Tom Mix, both personal items and original lithograph posters. 439 total lots will be offered at the sale on Saturday night, January 21st, with pre-auction estimates totaling over $2.2 million.

Tom Mix original lithograph poster. 

Tom Mix original lithograph poster. 

“In our business we talk a lot about how we’re losing the audience who knows who Tom Mix was,” says auction owner Brian Lebel. “And people get nervous.” He goes on, “As long as we continue to value these rare collectibles, if we remember that they are artifacts of a period in American history, we won’t forget. Tom Mix’s career began over a century ago, these items are historic.”

All lots may be previewed on-site during auction weekend. Bidding may be done live, online, by telephone or absentee. The auction and preview are both free and open to the public. A full-color, auction catalog is available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online at bid.oldwestevents.com. The auction is held in conjunction with a weekend-long western art and antique vendor show. The show is held at the Mesa Convention Center; the auction is held at the adjacent Phoenix Marriot Mesa. Details, auction highlights, catalog sales and much more is available at: www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

Tom Mix's personal Stetson hat with original box. Estimate $3,000-4,000.

Tom Mix's personal Stetson hat with original box. Estimate $3,000-4,000.

Notable among the Tom Mix items for auction are his personal batwing chaps (estimate $15,000-25,000); a Stetson hat with its original box (est. $3,000-4,000); custom cowboy boots (est. $8,000-12,000); and a custom pair of Bob Baldwin, Canon City Penitentiary made spurs with Edward H. Bohlin straps (est. $20,000-30,000). In addition to Roy Rogers’ red-white-and-blue double eagle boots (est. $3,000-3,500), is an iconic Roy Rogers’ Nudie’s Rodeo Tailor outfit (estimate $5,000-8,000), and a Nudie’s hat with silver hatband that is inscribed by Roy to his friend, famed record producer, Snuff Garrett (est. $2,000-2,500).

Other Hollywood cowboys represented in the sale include Rex Allen, Tim McCoy, James Arness, Gene Autry, Monte Montana and Will Rogers.

Geronimo’s Necklace and Original Signature for Sale at Auction

A leather and beaded necklace that once belonged to Geronimo, and a signature purchased in 1893 from the famed Apache warrior, will both be offered at auction on January 21, 2017 at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction in Mesa, Arizona.

Relic condition necklace that belonged to Geronimo. Estimate $20,000-30,000.

Mesa, AZ – 439 total lots are scheduled to cross the block on Saturday night, January 21st, at Old West Events’ annual live auction of authentic western art and artifacts, with pre-auction estimates totaling over $2.2 million. Among the many historic items being offered are two that are directly related to the infamous Apache hero, Geronimo: his necklace (estimate $20,000-30,000), and a framed, original signature (estimate $3,000-4,000).

Copy of 1958 newspaper article featuring the story of Geronimo's necklace.

Brian Lebel, auction owner, is pleased to offer the two authentic pieces. “Both of the items are accompanied by provenance,” he says. “And both also have great stories that go with them. I like it when that happens – when history and personality come together”

The necklace was collected by a young man during Geronimo’s capture, and passed through his family, until it was eventually sold because there was no family left to leave it to. The signature, which is framed along with a photo, was one that was purchased from Geronimo for 50 cents at the Buffalo Exhibition of 1893, while the famous prisoner was “on exhibition.”

Another auction item with Native American history is the top estimated lot of the evening, an 1874 Sharps rifle that was forensically proven to have been used by Indian warriors at Custer’s Last Stand. The gun, which has been featured in numerous books and publications, is estimated to sell for between $300,000 – 500,000.

All lots may be previewed on-site during auction weekend. Bidding may be done live, online, by telephone or absentee. The auction and preview are both free and open to the public. A full-color, auction catalog is available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online at bid.oldwestevents.com. The auction is held in conjunction with a weekend-long western art and antique vendor show. The show is held at the Mesa Convention Center; the auction is held at the adjacent Phoenix Marriot Mesa. Details, auction highlights, catalog sales and much more is available at: www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378. 

Historic Indian Rifle from the Custer Battlefield for Sale at Mesa Auction

The first firearm forensically proven to have been used at the Battle of The Little Bighorn will be auctioned at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction in Mesa, Arizona, January 21, 2017.

Custer-Battlefield-Rifle

Mesa, AZ - December 2016:
439 lots will cross the block on Saturday night, January 21st, at Brian Lebel’s Old West Events’ annual live auction of authentic western art and artifacts, with pre-auction estimates totaling over $2 million. The top estimated lot of the evening is an 1874 Sharps rifle, forensically proven to have been used by Native American warriors at Custer’s Last Stand. The lot includes copies of provenance and forensics. The gun, which has been featured in numerous books and publications, is estimated to sell for between $300,000 – 500,000.

The auction is held in conjunction with a weekend western antique show, and an auction preview is held during show hours. Auction bidding may be done live, online, by telephone or absentee. The auction and preview are both free and open to the public. A full-color, auction catalog is available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online. Details, auction highlights, catalog sales and much more is available at: www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

View additional photos of this lot at our online auction catalog by clicking here. View the entire online catalog here.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CUSTER BATTLEFIELD INDIAN RIFLE:
The First Firearm Forensically Proven to have been used at Custer’s Last Stand

In 1883, seven years after the resounding defeat of Custer and his 7th Cavalry near the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory, a rancher by the name of Willis Spear collected a number of artifacts while passing through the battlefield site with his family; a visit he recorded in his diary. This Sharps rifle, serial number C54586, was among the items he removed. It would remain in the Spear family for over a century.

 In August 1983, more than 100 years after what is among the most famous battles fought on American soil, a grassfire raged across the plains of the Custer Battlefield National Monument. This fire, having denuded the land of its thick grassy vegetation, paved the way for an archeological study that would exponentially further our knowledge of that fateful battle.

In the Spring of 1984, with funding from the Custer Battlefield Museum and Historical Association, and support from the National Park Service, an intensive archeological survey and excavation was conducted, in which thousands of artifacts were recovered and recorded, over 2,000 of which were battle-related ammunition artifacts such as cartridges, casings and the like. Using modern day archeological, forensic and ballistic techniques, the investigators were able to determine hundreds of individual gun makes and models used at the battle, the locations of their use, and even track the movement of individual weapons across the battlefield.

The ability to use forensics and ballistics to identify cartridges and casings was so compelling, the next logical step was to see if any could be specifically matched to any of the “known” Custer Battlefield firearms. Harmon and Scott write in their 1988 “Man at Arms” article, “The comparison process was very slow since it literally required us to look at hundreds of cases, and compare each against the evidence case. Incredible as it may seem, we did find a match between a .50-70 evidence case and an archeological specimen .50-70 case.”

The article goes on to state, “The archeological specimen was found southeast of Lt. James Calhoun’s position… There is no doubt this location is an Indian position… The archeological specimen also matched another archeological specimen found on Greasy Grass Ridge, southwest of the Calhoun position… This archeological evidence indicates this particular .50-70 firearm was used in two different Indian positions during the fighting around Calhoun Hill.”

The .50-70 in question is Sharps serial number C54586, the Spear family’s rifle. Shipped new from the Sharps factory in 1875, it still exists today as a genuine, Indian-used artifact of the most infamous battle of the American West.  

Authentic Cowboy, Indian and Western Antiques, Art and Artifacts for Sale at Lebel’s High Noon Show and Auction this January in Mesa, AZ

Shop, sell, browse, learn and explore the Old West at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction’s 27th annual event, with a weekend vendor sale, and exciting live Saturday auction, in Mesa, Ariz, Jan 21-22, 2017.

Mesa, AZ - December 2016:  Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction returns to Mesa this January to celebrate its 27th year as the Southwest’s premiere event for collectors, dealers and enthusiasts of the art and collectibles of the Old West and the western lifestyle. Consisting of a weekend-long vendor sale of 170 dealers, and a live Saturday night auction of more than 400 lots, the weekend showcases the very best in authentic cowboy, Indian and western art, antiques, artifacts and other fine merchandise. The Show will be held at the Mesa Convention Center, January 21-22, 2017; the Auction takes place at the adjacent Phoenix Marriott Mesa on Saturday, January 21st at 5:00 pm.

Lebel’s weekend dealer show hosts over 170 vendors from around the country, offering authentic western art, antiques, apparel, jewelry, furniture, antique & historic firearms, books, boots, spurs, horse gear, cowboy trappings, collectibles and much more. General admission to the show is $10 per day, kids under 12 free. The annual Traditional Cowboy Arts Association “Emerging Artist” competition will be held during the show, with a People’s Choice Vote and cash awards. This year’s contest category is saddlemaking.

The live Saturday night auction will see over 400 lots of authentic western art and artifacts cross the block, with pre-sale estimates exceeding $2.2 million. The highest estimated lot of this year’s exciting sale is a Model 1874 Sharps Rifle with provenance to the Custer Battlefield. Estimated at $300,000 – 500,000, this firearm was the first to be forensically proven to have been at the Battle of Little Big Horn, and can be traced to two known Indian positions on the battlefield. All lots are open to preview on-site, and bidding may be done live, online, by telephone or absentee. The auction and preview are both free and open to the public. A full-color, auction catalog is available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online.

Additional auction highlights include a number of important estates, including that of legendary record producer, Snuff Garret. His impressive collection includes rare and desirable lithographs from the golden age of the Hollywood cowboy; personal items from Roy Rogers (whom Snuff often referred to as his “adopted father”) including a pair of Roy’s iconic double-eagle boots; and a number of custom and personalized Edward H. Bohlin pieces from the time when Snuff owned the Bohlin Company.

Show and auction details, highlights, vendor lists, catalogs, tickets and much more are available at: www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show General Admission Schedule and Location:
Saturday, Jan 21, 2017: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm  
Sunday, Jan 22, 2017: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm    
Mesa Convention Center
 263 N. Center St, Mesa, AZ 85201

$10 per day, under 12 fee. Free parking. Discount tickets and Friday early buy-in tickets available online.

Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction Schedule and Location:
Saturday, Jan 21, 2016: 5:00 pm – finish   
Auction Preview: Jan 20, 9:00 – 5:00   
Saturday Jan 21, 9:00 - 4:30
Phoenix Marriott Mesa
200 N. Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201
(next door to the show)

Auction and Preview both free and open to the public. Catalogs available for purchase ($30 US) or view online.

Western Art from Estate of Actor Dennis Farina for Sale at Auction in Fort Worth, Texas

FORT WORTH – Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction is proud to announce the sale of the Dennis Farina Western Art Collection as part of its 27th annual Old West Show & Auction weekend event, June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, TX. Approximately ten pieces from the popular actor’s estate will cross the block, consisting primarily of early-to-mid twentieth century Western illustration and pulp art, and featuring action-packed scenes of cowboys, lawmen and bank robbers, by artists such as Buck McCain, Olaf Wieghorst and Richard Lillis. 

Dennis Farina (1944-2013) was a familiar face in both film and television. A busy actor, he is probably best known for his role as Detective Joe Fontana on “Law and Order.” Frequently cast as either a mobster or a cop, he was “discovered” while working in the burglary division of the Chicago Police Department. Though his characters were cops and robbers, Dennis, like so many men of his generation, wanted to be a cowboy. In a 2005 “TV Guide” article he was quoted as saying, “I would love to play a real old-style cowboy like Rooster Cogburn.” 

Untitled oil painting by Richard Lillis
Pre-Auction Estimate $600-900

Brian Lebel, auction owner (and fan of western pulp and illustration art himself), is thrilled to be offering the actor’s collection. “I always liked the characters Dennis played,” Lebel says. “He could be both serious and comedic at the same time. The art in his collection is like that too.”   

The Dennis Farina Art Collection is part of over 400 lots of authentic western art and Americana to be offered at Lebel’s 27th annual Old West Auction. Held at the Amon G. Carter Jr Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial, the auction is set for 5:00 pm on Saturday, June 11, 2016. An auction preview is offered, and both the auction and preview are free and open to the public. Internet, phone and absentee bidding options are also available. Catalogs are available for purchase, or lots may be viewed online at bid.oldwestevents.com. For more information visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.

Shop Authentic Western Art, Antiques and Fine Merchandise at the Old West Show & Auction, June 11-12, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas

Buy, sell or trade with over 200 exceptional vendors at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show’s 27th annual dealer sale, or bid at the exciting live Saturday night Old West Auction of Cowboy, Indian and Western art and artifacts.

Fort Worth, TX – The Nation’s largest and most important annual event for collectors and enthusiasts of the American West will be held June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, TX. Celebrating its 27th year (its 2nd annual in Texas), Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction hosts over 200 dealers and exhibitors in authentic western fine art, collectibles, apparel, jewelry, home design, antique & historic firearms, books, boots, spurs, saddles and other fine merchandise. Museums, Magazines, Authors and Non-Profits round out the exhibitors. General admission to the Show is $10/day, kids under 12 free. Discount tickets and early buy-in available at www.oldwestevents.com. 

Bidding is fast and furious at the live, Saturday night Old West Auction of 400 lots of authentic, fine western art and artifacts with estimates exceeding $1.5 million. A preview will be held Friday and Saturday. The auction and preview are both free and open to the public. Bidding may also be done online, by phone or absentee. Catalogs available for $30 or lots may be viewed online. 

Among a number of notable auction lots with Texas history, are Dallas Cowboy’s former owner Bum Bright’s personal Bohlin saddle (estimate $35,000-45,000), and Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Honoree, Clint People’s Remington Rifle (estimate $5,000-6,000). For those interested in Hollywood cowboys, there’s Jimmy Stewart’s suit from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (estimate $2,500-3,500), and the “new-fangled” barber chair where Wyatt got his shave in the iconic scene from “My Darling Clementine” (estimate $1,500-2,500).  

Blackfoot War Shirt brings $109,250 at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona

A Blackfoot man’s beaded and hide shirt was top seller at the 26th annual auction of western art and Americana, which saw over 400 lots cross the block and realized $1.4 million in sales.

MESA, AZ – Nearly 500 people attended the 26th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday night, January 23rd, bidding on 430 lots of authentic cowboy, Indian and Western art and artifacts. Held at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, the sale drew almost as many phone and internet bidders as live ones, keeping the phone-bank and the ring-men busy all night. With total sales topping $1.4 million, and lots in every price range, the fast-paced sale realized an incredible 93.5% sell-through rate.

From cover to cover, the sale was strong; the evening’s top seller was the catalog front cover lot, a Blackfoot man’s war shirt that sold for $109,250 to a phone bidder. (It was one of many Native American artifacts to bring impressive prices.) The back cover of the catalog, an Edward Borein watercolor, sold for $51,750, well above its presale estimate of $30,000-35,000. Lebel’s auctions are well-known for their Borein sales, as his June “Old West Auction” currently holds the Borein watercolor record.

Other notable western fine artists also brought fine prices, including a large and impressive Howard Post of a trio of horses that sold above estimate at $27,225; a LaVerne Nelson Black that more than doubled its low estimate, selling for $14,160; and a Charlie Russell bronze, which sold firmly within estimate at $9,200. Among the fine art bargains of the evening was a lively Ernesto Icaza, estimated at $15,000-25,000 that realized $12,980.

Saddles, spurs and other cowboy trappings are always big sellers, with a bit and spur set from Goldberg/Staunton bringing $40,250 after a bidding war between the phones and the floor, with the floor bidder ultimately prevailing. Historic firearms did well, as was evidenced by the sale of a Trapdoor Officer’s Model sporting rifle that sold above estimate for $19,550. An historic Ulysses S. Grant Peace Medal sold for $37,375 after yet another floor versus phone bidding frenzy.

Brian Lebel, auction owner, is pleased with the sale and enthusiastic about the market. His weekend vendor sale that accompanies the auction – Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show – was equally as successful, with record-breaking attendance and millions of dollars in sales. According to Lebel, “despite plummeting stocks, global conflict, record breaking snow, and an election year, it is clear from our crowds and results that the western art and antiques market remains robust and shows no signs of slowing.” Lebel is also happy with the growing global interest in the industry. “We had vendors and shoppers from around the world,” says Lebel. “I personally spoke to folks from Germany, Belgium, France and Tokyo.”

Next year’s Mesa High Noon Show & Auction will be held January 21-22, 2017 at the Mesa Convention Center and Phoenix Marriott Mesa, respectively. Lebel’s next event is the 27th annual “Old West Show & Auction” which will be held June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information on any of these events, visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.

(all reported prices include buyers premium)


Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction Chosen to Guide the Sale of the Legendary Dixie W. Thompson Silver Saddle

Historic silver saddle that belonged to Santa Barbara icon, Dixie W. Thompson, will be offered for sale for the first time ever at Lebel’s June Old West Auction in Fort Worth, Texas.

FORT WORTH, TX – May 1, 2015: Old West Events announced that it has been selected by the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, to bring to auction the Dixie W. Thompson Silver Saddle Outfit, which the museum has proudly held for nearly a century. Proceeds will benefit the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco’s acquisition funds. The circa 1889 custom saddle was the work of S. Loomis Saddlery Company for the Santa Barbara rancher, capitalist and former sea captain, Dixie W. Thompson. The silver work, fashioned using bullion from Mexican silver dollars, took over two years to complete and is attributed to the Tiffany-trained master, Edwin Field. The complete outfit, with equally detailed custom silver reins, bridle, bit, and cinch has a presale estimate of $60,000-80,000, and has never been offered for sale before now. Lebel’s 26th annual Old West Auction will be held live beginning at 5:00 pm, June 6, 2015 in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The auction is free and open to the public. 

“This is an incredible opportunity to own a true masterwork,” says auction founder, Brian Lebel. “The Dixie Thompson saddle outfit represents some of the very finest work by some of the best artisans of any era. Together they created one of the most magnificent saddles ever produced in America.” Dixie’s saddle was exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and made frequent parade appearances with Mr. Thompson aboard. The saddle was written about in numerous newspapers, and had a reputation in its day as, “an exquisite work of art” and “the most expensive saddle in the world.”

The auction features approximately 400 total lots, and other notable saddle makers are well-represented, including Edward H. Bohlin and S.C Foy. Additional auction highlights include Annie Oakley’s rifle and “the gun that shot Morgan Earp.” A preview will be held Friday and Saturday. The auction and preview are free and open to the public. Internet, phone and absentee bidding options are also available. Catalogs are available for purchase. In addition to the auction, the weekend event features the 26th annual Old West Show, hosting 200+ vendors in authentic western art, antiques and other fine merchandise. General admission to the Show is $10/day with kids under 12 free and discount tickets available online. Visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378 for more details.

The "Gun that Shot Morgan Earp" at Auction for the first time this June.

“The Gun That Killed Morgan Earp” Coming Up at Auction for the First Time at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction, June 6th in Fort Worth, Texas

The Colt Single Action taken from the body of outlaw, Frank Stilwell after Wyatt Earp killed him, believed to be the gun with which Stilwell murdered Morgan Earp, will cross the block this June at Lebel’s 26th annual Old West Auction.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2015

Fort Worth, TX – An authentic piece of Old West history will be available for the first time for public sale when Frank Stilwell’s Colt Single Action crosses the block at Brian Lebel’s 26th Annual Old West Auction, June 6th at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Believed to be the gun that Stilwell used to kill Wyatt Earp’s brother, Morgan Earp, the circa 1873 revolver is accompanied by letters and documents chronicling its history, and is estimated to sell for between $175,000-225,000. The auction features approximately 400 total lots, and other notable Old West pieces include Annie Oakley’s rifle and Wyatt Earp’s walking stick. The live sale will begin at 5:00 pm on Saturday, June 6th in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. A preview will be held Friday and Saturday. The auction and preview are free and open to the public. Internet, phone and absentee bidding options are also available; registration is free.

Frank Stilwell was an Old West sometimes-lawman/sometimes-outlaw, who had a knack for getting arrested but evading conviction. He figured prominently in the events leading up to and surrounding the Gunfight at the OK Corral, and less than six months later was the prime suspect in the murder of Morgan Earp. On March 20, 1882, two nights after Morgan’s murder, believing that Stilwell would evade justice yet again, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Warren Earp and two other men ambushed Stilwell on the tracks at the Tucson Rail Yard, and filled him full of holes. The gun was on Stilwell’s person at the time, but newspaper accounts state that he never had a chance to fire it.

“It’s always an honor to be able to offer an historic piece from the Old West that hasn’t been publicly available before,” says auction founder Brian Lebel. “Especially when that artifact has ties to the absolute legends of the time. It’s exciting, I think, when you can hold history in your hand.”

The auction is held in conjunction with Brian Lebel’s Old West Show, a weekend vendor sale featuring over 200 dealers in authentic western art, antiques, collectibles and other fine merchandise. Both the Show and the Auction will be held in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, Texas. More details, including schedules, discount show coupons, auction catalog orders, online bidding, etc., can be found at www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

For the First Time in Texas, Buy, Sell & Trade Authentic Western Art and Artifacts at the Annual Old West Show & Auction, June 6-7th in Fort Worth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
APRIL 10, 2015

Over 200 show vendors and 400 auction lots of authentic cowboy, Indian and western art, antiques, collectibles and other fine merchandise will be showcased at Brian Lebel’s 26th Annual Old West Show & Auction, being held for the first time in Texas this June.

Fort Worth, TX – April 10, 2015: Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction, the annual event for collectors and enthusiasts of the American West, is moving its 26th annual weekend vendor show and Saturday night auction to the Amon G. Carter Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, June 6-7, 2015. Over 200 Old West Show vendors from around the country will offer authentic western fine art, collectibles, apparel, jewelry, home design, antique & historic firearms, books, boots, spurs and other fine merchandise. Saturday night features the Old West Auction, offering 400 lots of authentic western art and artifacts with pre-sale estimates totaling over $2 million. The auction is free and open to the public. General admission to the Show is $10/day, kids under 12 free. Discount tickets and early buy-in available at www.oldwestevents.com.

“We’re very excited to move to Texas,” says event founder, Brian Lebel. “The city of Fort Worth has done an amazing job of preserving its historic western roots while still encouraging contemporary art and culture.” He adds, “It’s a mission we share.” Lebel intends to make Fort Worth the event’s new permanent home and hopes the public embraces it. “When people see just how many vendors we have, and the quality and authenticity of their merchandise, then they understand why both dealers and shoppers come from around the world to attend. Once somebody sees what we’re up to, they never want to miss it again.”

Lebel began the Old West Show & Auction in Cody, Wyoming as a small gathering of like-minded enthusiasts. After 19 years in Cody, the event spent the next 6 in Denver, Colorado. Now, in its 26th year, the Old West Show & Auction has grown into the nation’s premiere annual Western Americana shopping event. For all the details visit: www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-WEST (9378).

Old West Show Vendors Doing Their Thing...

26th Annual Old West Show & Auction Event Schedule:

Show Schedule – General Admission:
Saturday, June 6, 2015:  9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Sunday, June 7, 2015: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

$10 per day, children under 12 free. Discount tickets and early buy-in available online.

Live Auction Schedule:
Saturday, June 6, 2015: 5:00 pm - finish

Life Imitates Art at the Old West Show

Life Imitates Art at the Old West Show

Preview will be held Friday 9-5, and Saturday 9-4:30. Both the auction and preview are free and open to the public. Absentee, Internet and phone bidding options available. Catalogs available for purchase.

Location:
Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibit Hall – Will Rogers Memorial Center
3401 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76107

Over $2 Million in Western Fine Art, Antiques and Collectibles to Cross the Block at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction in Fort Worth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 6, 2015

Over $2 Million in Western Fine Art, Antiques and Collectibles to Cross the Block at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction in Fort Worth

June 6-7, 2015 marks the 26th annual Old West Show & Auction, featuring fine Western art and Americana, with over 200 Show vendors and 400 auction lots.

FORT WORTH – For the first time ever in Texas, Brian Lebel’s annual Old West Show & Auction will be held June 6-7, 2015 at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. The event features a weekend vendor show with over 200 exhibitors in authentic cowboy, Indian and western arts and antiques; and an exciting, live Saturday night auction of approximately 400 lots of authentic Western art and artifacts, with pre-sale estimates totaling over $2 million. 

Frank Paul Sauerwein, Kiva at Acoma Pueblo, Watercolor, 11 1/2" x 8" (Est. $6000-9000)

This year’s auction highlights offer pieces from a variety of different collecting categories. Fine art offerings include works by such noted artists as Frank McCarthy, Will James, Bill Owen, Scott Rogers, Richard Friese, Donna Howell-Sickles, Howard Post, Buck McCain, Dave Powell, Eric Michaels, Mehl Lawson, Joe Beeler, Robert Winter, L.A. Huffman, Frank Sauerwein, Dale Ford, Sidney Harry Riesenberg and other deceased and contemporary artists. Three pieces by noted Indian portrait painter, E. A. Burbank will be offered, including a pastel portrait of Virgil Earp (estimate: $60,000-80,000).

The Old West is well-represented with fine artifacts such as Annie Oakley’s Remington rifle, trophy and photos (estimate: $300,000-325,000); Frank Stillwell’s Colt Single Action revolver, believed to be the gun with which he shot Morgan Earp; Wyatt Earp’s walking stick; Cherokee Bill’s Winchester; and Pawnee Bill’s personal saddle. Several early Wyoming Territory saddles and accessories will be offered, by makers such as Meanea and Gallatin. 

Related to the Old West, but more contemporarily created, are six life-size, folk art carvings by the esteemed Arizona carver, Dee Flagg, who carved every piece by hand. Crafted to fine detail and dressed in period clothing, the lifelike figures are of Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Daniel Boone, Jesse James, Calamity Jane, and of course, Billy the Kid (estimate: $15,000-20,000 each).

Cowboy trappings from spurs to saddles are always well-represented at Lebel’s auctions, and this sale boasts a number of rare and impressive pieces. There are several sterling parade saddles, including Bohlin examples, as well as a stunning Loomis Saddlery saddle that belonged to the famous Santa Barbara rancher, Dixie W. Thompson. The custom saddle, originally crafted in 1889 and displayed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, is ornately decorated in fine silverwork by the Tiffany-trained master, Edwin Field (estimate: $60,000-80,000). The saddle has been in the collection of San Francisco’s de Young Museum for almost ninety years, and its sale will benefit the Fine Arts Museums of San Fransico’s acquisition funds. Auction owner Brian Lebel states, “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a custom masterwork with extensive California and American history as well as museum provenance. I’m honored to offer it.”

Among the Native American antiquities being offered is the ensemble of an Apache Warrior, originally collected in Texas and held in a private collection for the past 140 years. A scarce, fully beaded horse’s neck drape; a ledger-style, circa 1880s Sioux model tipi; silver Navajo bridles and many other fine Indian artifacts will also cross the block, including an impressive pair of quilled Mandan leggings.

Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015 in the Amon G. Carter Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, TX. The Old West Show is held at the same location on Saturday and Sunday, June 6th and 7th. This is the first year in Texas for Lebel’s venerable event, which began in Cody, Wyoming 26 years ago. Of the move to the Lone Star State, Lebel says, “Fort Worth is a city that embraces its rich western history while still celebrating its contemporary culture.” He adds, “It’s a perfect fit for us, and I’m not sure why we didn’t make the move sooner.”

Admission to the Old West Show is $10 per day with children under 12 free, and discount tickets are available online. Admission to the Auction and Auction Preview are free and open to the public. Bidder registration is free, and bidding is available live, online, by telephone or absentee. Catalogs are available for purchase. Details can be found at www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.  

Tom Horn Winchester Leads $1.8 million Sale!

February 1, 2015                    

 Tom Horn’s Winchester is Top Seller at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, AZ

The last Winchester owned by old west outlaw, Tom Horn, sold for $149,500 at the 25th annual High Noon Auction, which realized over $1.8 million in total sales.

MESA, AZ – Over 400 auction lots crossed the block on the evening of January 24, 2015 at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction, which saw total sales exceeding $1.8 million, with an impressive 95% sell-through rate. Almost 400 people were in attendance at the live event, with another few hundred bidding on the phones, absentee or via the Internet. Celebrating its 25th annual sale, it was the first High Noon Auction hosted by Brian Lebel since he purchased the event last Spring. According to Lebel, “we couldn’t have hoped for better results. We’re proud to carry on this tradition.”

The top seller of the night was lot 308, Tom Horn’s Winchester, which sold for $149,500 to a very excited phone bidder. Bidding was fast and furious, with interest coming from the phones, the Internet and the floor bidders. The lot sold firmly within its presale estimate of $125,000 - $175,000.

The second highest priced lot was the catalog cover lot, a Charles Russell letter to his friend the actor Harry Carey, which was one of numerous items from the Carey Family estate. The letter, which featured a Russell drawing and referred comically to buried booze on Carey’s ranch during Prohibition, sold for $126,500, which was slightly above its presale estimate of $90,000 - $115,000. It also sold to a phone bidder after a spirited bidding war between the phones and the floor.

Native American antiquities sold particularly well, with a stunning Cheyenne beaded cradleboard bringing $34,500, a very old Pueblo shield selling for $33,350 and a fine Plains beaded men’s war shirt realizing $32,200.

Fine art brought respectable prices as always, for both contemporary and deceased artists. Raphael Lillywhite’s (1891-1958) “Taos Scene” sold for $19,550; a rare Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012) original of a teepee scene entitled “Campfire at Dusk” brought $15,930 (just under its high estimate of $16,000); and a pair of John Moyers (b. 1958) oils brought $23,000 and $28,750. The surprise artwork sale of the night was the original mixed media painting by Richard Amsel for the movie poster for John Wayne’s final film, “The Shootist.” It sold for $18,400, which was more than twice its low estimate of $8,000. 

Perhaps the most excited bidder of the evening was the gentleman who won the bid for Harry Carey, Jr’s motorcycle vest from the 1985 movie, “The Mask.” Upon winning the bid for $1,046, he leapt to his feet with a cheer. He then wore his purchase for the rest of the evening, and then again all the next day at the affiliated event, Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show. Featuring over 165 vendors, the show hosted record numbers of attendees, and was widely said to be, “the best show we’ve attended in years.”

For more information about Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction, or the upcoming Old West Show & Auction to be held June 6-7, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas, please visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.

Important Charlie Russell Illustrated Letter to Harry Carey leads Sale at January Auction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        

Important Charlie Russell Illustrated Letter to Harry Carey leads Sale at January Auction 

The famous letter from artist C.M. Russell to his friend, Hollywood star "Harry" Carey, will cross the block at Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona.

MESA, AZ – Over 350 historic and important items will be offered at the 25th annual High Noon Auction, held live in Mesa, Arizona at 5:00 pm, January 24, 2015. The Russell letter is dated February 25, 1921 and references "buried treasure" (booze) on Carey's Ranch, accompanied by an illustration of drunken cowboys. From the estate of the Carey Family Trust, the letter is featured in several books and has never before been offered for public sale. It is estimated between $90,000 - 115,000. The auction is held in conjunction with Brian Lebel's High Noon Show, a weekend dealer sale featuring 150 vendors in authentic Western art, antiques and Americana.

C.M. Russell illustrated letter to Harry Carey

C.M. Russell illustrated letter to Harry Carey

In addition to the Russell letter, the auction also boasts the first-time offering of Tom Horn's last Winchester, a model 1894 .30-30 that he was carrying the night he was arrested for the murder of Willie Nickell, a crime he may or may not have committed. Horn gifted the rifle to his friend C.B. Irwin just days before Horn's execution, and it has remained in the Irwin family since that time. Estimated at $125,000 – 175,000, it is one of several items from the Irwin estate.

Fine art auction offerings include a rare pair of Indian-themed original oil paintings by the late Thomas Kinkade, works by deceased Cowboy Artists of America members James Reynolds and J.W. Hampton, a fine Will James drawing, bronzes by the likes of Herb Mignery and Joe Beeler, and works by contemporary artists such as John Moyers and Eric Michaels. Other artists of note that will be represented in the sale include Ila McAfee, Ross Steffan, Edward Curtis, Olaf Weighorst, Raphael Lillywhite, Richard Bernhard Friese and others.

Native American artifacts will also be well represented at the sale, including a fully beaded Cheyenne cradleboard, a historic dewclaw necklace worn in photos by the Indian Half Moon, several room-size Navajo textiles, a pair of stunning men's war shirts, and totems by the late master carver Don Lelooska.

For the Hollywood collector, there is the original artwork by Richard Amsel for the movie poster for John Wayne's last film, "The Shootist," as well as items relating to "Gun Smoke," "The Searchers," and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." The rope Steve McQueen used when he played Tom Horn in the famous movie of the same name, as well as the double barrel shotgun he used in "The Magnificent Seven" will both be offered. Items from the Harry Carey estate, the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum Collection, and numerous Edward H. Bohlin items round out the Hollywood collectibles.

N. Porter Silver and Gold Parade Saddle

N. Porter Silver and Gold Parade Saddle

As always, the auction will include fine cowboy trappings such as saddles, spurs, bits and bridles from noted makers like Porter, C.P. Shipley and G.S. Garcia. Numerous silver saddles will be offered, as well as fine examples of horsehair bridles and vintage gun leather.

Brian Lebel, who purchased the High Noon event this past spring, is excited about the overall quality and diversity of the items in this year's January sale. "It's not every day that I have to decide between a famous Charlie Russell letter and a famous outlaw Winchester for my favorite auction piece," he says. "Both have impeccable provenance, and both are amazing examples of American Western history in their own ways." Lebel is also known for his summer event, Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction, which he is relocating this June to Fort Worth, Texas.

Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction will offer live, phone, Internet and absentee bidding options. An auction preview is held on Friday and Saturday, and a full-color catalog is available for purchase. The auction will be held at 5pm on January 24, 2015 at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa in Mesa, Arizona, and both the auction and preview are free and open to the public. The High Noon Show will be held the same weekend, January 24-25, 2015 at the adjacent Mesa Convention Center, and admission is $10 per day. Early buy-in during dealer set-up on Friday is available. More details, discount show coupons, auction highlights and more can be found at www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

25th Annual Western Americana Shopping Event Returns to Mesa, Arizona in January

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

25th Annual Western Americana Shopping Event Returns to Mesa, Arizona in January as Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction 

Brian Lebel’s Old West Events presents the annual High Noon western antique dealer show and auction this January 24-25, 2015 at the Mesa Convention Center and adjacent Phoenix Marriot Mesa.

High Noon Show Dealer Booth

MESA, AZ– 150 show dealers and over 350 auction items will be showcased at this year’s annual western Americana event, formerly known as the High Noon Show & Auction and now called Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction. Celebrating its 25th year, the event will continue in the same format as always, and will offer the highest quality, authentic western art and antiques for sale by show vendors and at auction. The show is open to the public on Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm, and again on Sunday from 9am to 3pm. General admission is $10 per day, or discount tickets are available at www.oldwestevents.com. Passes for VIP entry during dealer set-up on Friday are also available for purchase. The live auction will be held at 5pm on Saturday, January 24th. The auction is free and open to the public; auction catalogs are available for purchase by phone or online.

Items available for purchase from the many show dealers include cowboy, Indian and western art, antiques, apparel, jewelry, home design, historic firearms, Native American arts and crafts, saddles, spurs, boots, hats and other fine merchandise. The auction will feature western art and antiquities, including a famous illustrated letter by the artist Charlie Russell that he wrote to his good friend, actor Harry Carey. The letter is one among many pieces from the Harry Carey estate. Also being offered at auction is the last Winchester owned by Old West frontiersman Tom Horn, along with numerous items from the C.B. Irwin estate. Also for sale is the most extensive single collection of antique saloon poker chips known to exist, a number of items from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum Collection, and spurs from the collection of Casa Grande, Arizona collector Dick Powell.

Brian Lebel, who purchased the High Noon Show & Auction this past Spring, is proud of the quality and diversity of the items being offered for sale this January. He says of the Mesa festivities, “as always, the High Noon Show & Auction promises to be an exciting kick-off to the New Year for all of us in the western collecting business.” He adds, “Every year, it just keeps getting better and better.” Lebel is best known for his summer event, the Old West Show & Auction, which will be held in early June in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lebel’s High Noon Show will be held at the Mesa Convention Center and the Auction is held next door at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa. For more information about any of the events, or to purchase discount show tickets or auction catalogs, please call 480-779-9378, or visit the website at www.oldwestevents.com.

Custer 7th Cavalry Revolver was Top Seller at Old West Auction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Custer 7th Cavalry Revolver was Top Seller at Old West Auction

Custer 7th Cavalry Colt Single Action - SOLD $53,100

Custer 7th Cavalry Colt Single Action - SOLD $53,100

DENVER – Brian Lebel's Old West Auction celebrated its 25th annual sale on Saturday, June 28th, with total realized prices topping a million dollars and an impressive 93% sell-through rate. The top lot of the night was a Colt Single Action Revolver dating from Custer's 7th Cavalry, which sold for $53,100 to a floor bidder in the room. The next best-selling lot was a stunning Nez Perce horse mask that sold on the phone for $47,200. Over 400 people attended the live auction, with hundreds of registered Internet bidders and dozens more bidding on the phone and absentee. The Auction was held in conjunction with the Old West Show, which featured 200 dealers, with over 3,000 people in attendance. 

One of the auction highlights was the highly anticipated Billy the Kid CDV, which sold on the Internet for $18,150, more than twice its low estimate. Items from the estate of infamous Texas businessman Rex Cauble created a bidding frenzy, with his Cutter Bill Championship diamond and sterling belt buckle selling to a determined phone bidder for $14,160. 

Saddles were perhaps the bargain purchases of the evening, with a Bohlin Dick Dickson model realizing $23,010, which was less than its low estimate; and a Bohlin Dick Dickson Jr. model bringing $35,400, which was right at the low estimate. 

Raphael Lillywhite "North Park" - SOLD $21,240

Raphael Lillywhite "North Park" - SOLD $21,240

Fine art brought respectable prices, with a large WHD Koerner painting selling on the floor for $11,800. Both a Raphael Lillywhite and a Will James brought $21,240 each, selling on the floor and the phone respectively. 

Overall, the sale was strong, with most items selling either firmly within or above estimate. Auction owner Brian Lebel feels that the market for Western art and artifacts remains strong and continues to attract new collectors. Lebel states, "We had more new bidders register for the sale this year than we have had in many, many years." He went on to add, "Some of it is because of the Internet, of course, but no amount of exposure would matter if the material wasn't desirable and authentic." Regarding the Old West Show, Lebel said, "We had the best early buy-in and Friday attendance numbers since relocating from Cody to Denver." 

For 2015, Lebel will be moving his Old West Show & Auction from Denver to Fort Worth, with dates scheduled for June 6-7 at the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall of the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Lebel also recently purchased the High Noon Show & Auction, which will be held in Mesa, Arizona this coming January, 24-25, 2015. Details can be found at oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378.

Rare Billy the Kid 1880s CDV for Sale at Old West Auction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1880s CDV of Billy the Kid for Sale at Old West Auction

An original, incredibly rare, cartes-de-visites of the famous image of Billy the Kid for sale by the same auction house that sold The Kid's tintype in 2011 for $2.3 million .

DENVER – Brian Lebel's Old West Auction will offer an original CDV of Billy the Kid, dating from the 1880s, at its 25th annual auction, June 28, 2014 at the Denver Mart. Though photographic historians have long suspected the existence of Billy the Kid CDVs, this is the first to come to public attention and sale. The image is the iconic picture of The Kid taken from an original tintype, one of which Lebel's auction sold for a record-breaking $2.3 million in June 2011. The presale estimate for the CDV is $8,000 - $10,000.

Billy the Kid Original CDV

Billy the Kid Original CDV

CDVs, or cartes-de-visites, were popular at the time The Kid's tintype was produced. They are small paper photographs mounted on cards that were inexpensive to make and mass produce. Photographers often took photographs of existing photos to create a CDV image, which is how the Billy the Kid CDV would have been produced. That is, it is an authentic, period reproduction of the original Kid tintype. The CDV was passed down through a New Mexico family, and shows the wear-and-tear of its 130+ years.

Though CDVs of Billy the Kid were likely mass produced, they weren't valuable in their time, which may explain why none have surfaced to date. Bob McCubbin, western photography historian and collector, said in an essay for Lebel's auction catalog, "a photo of Billy the Kid, purchased for a few cents, was not thought of as something worth saving." According to McCubbin, "to my knowledge, like the original tintype, this is the only known copy." Brian Lebel states, "I like to imagine kids in the 1880s sticking them in the spokes of their wagon wheels like I did with my baseball cards and bicycle."

The June 28th Old West Auction includes over 350 total lots of western artifacts, art and collectibles. The live sale is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and is held in the Expo Building of the Denver Mart, Denver, Colo. Bidding can be done in-person, by phone, online or absentee, and auction catalogs are available for purchase. Details at www.denveroldwest.com or 480-779-9378.

Helene Sage to Launch New Book about Eddy Hulbert at the Denver Old West Show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Helene Sage to Launch New Book about Eddy Hulbert at the Denver Old West Show  

Cover of New Eddy Hulbert Book by Helene Sage

Cover of New Eddy Hulbert Book by Helene Sage

DENVER – Brian Lebel's Old West Show is proud to announce that noted collector and author, E. Helene Sage will be releasing her new book, "Eddy Hulbert, Silversmith: Artistry in Dryhead Country, Montana" at the 25th annual show, June 27-29th at the Denver Mart. Helene will be at the Show to discuss her latest work, sign copies and visit with show guests. 144 pages, with 226 photographs, the book is an exploration of Hulbert's silverwork in spurs, bits & bridles, belts & buckles, and jewelry. More information about the book can be found at the publisher's website.

A noted scientist, researcher, horseman and collector, Dr. E. Helene Sage is the author of over 350 published scientific articles, Western-related commentaries, catalogs, and books that include "Bridle Rosettes: Two Centuries of Equine Adornment" and "Native American Horse Gear." The Old West Show is honored to showcase her and her newest work. 

Visit www.denveroldwest.com for more details and to download discount show coupons. General admission is $5 and children under 12 are free. Sunday is First Responder's Day at the Show; all military, police, fire and medics are free with ID. Free parking. The Denver Mart is located at 451 E 58th Ave, Denver, CO.

Rex Cauble Estate, Including Mixer Portraits of Cutter Bill, at Auction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rex Cauble's Estate Collection, Including a William S. Hart Saddle and Orren Mixer Portraits of "Cutter Bill" for Sale at June Auction

Items from the estate of Rex Cauble, infamous Texas businessman and cutting horse icon, to be sold, unreserved, at Brian Lebel's Old West Auction June 28th.

DENVER – A Furstnow saddle once belonging to cowboy film star, William S. Hart, as well as Orren Mixer portraits of Cutter Bill (arguably the most famous cutting horse of all time) headline the sale of the Rex Cauble collection by Brian Lebel's Old West Auction, June 28, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The saddle, which features sterling silver decorations with heart designs, is estimated to sell for between $15,000 to $25,000. Several Orren Mixer oil paintings of Cutter Bill and cutting horse, Hard Twist, are estimated between $12,000 and $25,000. Other items from the Cauble estate include Texas Ranger items, a 1962 World Champion trophy saddle and sterling 1962 trophy buckle, spurs, furniture, clothing, and dozens of awards, photos, correspondence and other memorabilia. The Cauble items are being offered without reserve.

Cutter Bill Portrait by Orren Mixer

Cutter Bill Portrait by Orren Mixer

A world champion horseman, chairman of the Texas Aeronautical Commission, honorary Texas Ranger and founder of the Cutter Bill clothing stores, Rex Cauble was once among the wealthiest and most respected businessmen in Texas. But in 1982, Cauble was indicted on multiple counts of drug trafficking, racketeering and fraud for his alleged involvement in the then-largest marijuana smuggling ring in Texas history, known as the "Cowboy Mafia," which operated through Cauble's ranches. He was convicted and served time in federal prison, but staunchly maintained his innocence throughout his life.

Many of the items to be auctioned are related to Cutter Bill, Cauble's famous palomino cutting horse and stallion, and the namesake of the famous Cutter Bill Western Wear stores (the "Neiman Marcus of the cowboy crowd"). Cutter Bill won both the AQHA and NCHA Championships; became an influential sire, and was elected into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2003. Items relating to other star Cauble horses such as Wimpy P-1 and Hard Twist will also be offered.

Cauble's estate has seen the auction block before, but with many items failing to sell. Auction owner, Brian Lebel wants potential bidders to know that will not be the case this time. "There are no reserves on the Cauble material," says Lebel. "This may not be the first Rex Cauble estate auction, but it will be the last."

The June 28th auction includes over 350 total lots of western artifacts, art and collectibles. The live sale is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and is held in the Expo Building of the Denver Mart, Denver, Colo. Bidding can be done in-person, by phone, online or absentee, and auction catalogs are available for purchase. Details at www.denveroldwest.com or 480-779-9378.