Billy the Kid Knife Could Fetch Over $1 Million at Lebel’s Old West Auction in Mesa, AZ

The knife that outlaw Billy the Kid was holding when he was shot and killed by Pat Garrett will cross the block at Brian Lebel's 29th annual Old West Auction on January 26, 2019 as part of the sale of the Robert G. McCubbin Collection of Old West photographs and artifacts.

Billy the Kid Knife

Old West Events is proud to offer the Robert G. McCubbin Collection, January 25-26, 2019 at the 29th annual Mesa Old West Auction. Consisting of over 1,500 total pieces, it is regarded as the most extensive and important collection of Old West photographs, artifacts and documents in private hands. Among the many highlights is the Billy the Kid knife, estimated to sell for between $800,000 - 1.2 million. The photography portion of the collection will be sold Friday, January 25th; the documents and artifacts, including The Kid’s knife, will be sold on Saturday, January 26th. Auctions begin at 5:00 pm each evening; combined estimates exceed $6 million. Held at the Delta Marriott Mesa hotel in Mesa, AZ, both auctions are free and open to the public, and all lots may be previewed in person. Bidder registration is free, and bidding may be done live, online, by mobile app, via phone or absentee. Catalogs are available for purchase, or viewed online at

The McCubbin Collection is packed with rare and historic Old West memorabilia, but the knife that Billy the Kid was holding when he was killed is by far the most anticipated and highest estimated lot of both sales. The knife, which Billy was carrying to cut meat at the Maxwell family house, was still in Billy's hand when he was shot by Pat Garrett in Pete Maxwell's room July 14, 1881. Noted in numerous accounts of the time, the knife was retrieved by Paulita Maxwell and passed down through the Maxwell-Jamarillo family for over a century. It is accompanied by extensive provenance, including affidavits signed by Maxwell family members and others. Details and provenance may be viewed at

Brian Lebel, auction owner, is thrilled to offer this exciting Old West artifact. Lebel’s June Old West Auction sold the only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid (the “Upham tintype”) in 2011 for $2.3 million. Lebel states, “The Billy the Kid tintype was the ‘Holy Grail’ of the Western collecting industry; everyone said so, and I’ve always agreed. But the Billy the Kid knife is a pretty fine runner-up.” The collection includes numerous Kid-related items, including a “last-stand” note and signature that may, or may not, be that of William Bonney.

Other notable artifacts from the McCubbin Collection include Wild Bill Hickok’s straight razor (est. $70,000-90,000), the mallet that killed Wild Bunch outlaw Ben Kilpatrick (est. $50,000-80,000), and John Wesley Hardin’s personal photo album (est. 75,000-125,000). The photography collection includes hundreds of highly sought-after original Old West photos of the most notable and notorious Western figures, as well as hundreds of important historical documents. Highlights may be viewed at

In addition to the auctions, Old West Events will present the 29th annual Mesa Old West Show, a weekend dealer show and sale with over 180 vendors in western art, antiques and other fine merchandise. Details on all of the weekend events may be found at,, or by calling 480-779-9378.

About Old West Events
Old West Events is home to Brian Lebel's Old West Shows and Old West Auctions, held every January in Mesa, Arizona, and every June in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Each annual event consists of a weekend vendor show and sale, along with an exciting, live Saturday night auction. Both events feature the best authentic western art, antiques and artifacts available for public sale. The Old West Auction is best known for the 2011 sale of the only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid (the “Upham tintype”) for $2.3 million.

Brian Lebel began the Cody Old West Show & Auction in June 1989 in Cody, Wyoming as a way to bring together like-minded collectors of cowboy and western antiques and trappings. The event was held in Cody every June for 19 years, before moving first to Denver, Colorado, then to Fort Worth, Texas, and finally to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2014, Lebel purchased the annual January High Noon Show & Auction in Mesa, Arizona, and formed a new venture: Old West Events. The company prides itself on its reputation for honesty, quality and authenticity.


(High resolutions photographs available.)