Over $6 Million in Old West Photos and Memorabilia for Auction at Lebel’s Sale of the Robert G. McCubbin Collection

Auction estimates exceed $6 million for the upcoming sale of the well-known Robert G. McCubbin Collection of Old West photographs and artifacts at Brian Lebel’s 29th annual Old West Auction, January 25-26th in Mesa, AZ.

Mesa, AZ - 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. From Billy the Kid to Wild Bill Hickok, the most famous people and places of the Old West are represented. The photography portion of the collection will be sold Friday, January 25th; the documents and artifacts 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 https://auctions.oldwestevents.com

Wild Bill Hickok

Among the photographic highlights are rare and historic photos of notable Old West figures such as Jesse James, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson, Belle Star, Yellowstone Kelly, Geronimo, Sitting Bull and many, many other famous and infamous names. The highest estimated photo is the original and famous studio portrait of Butch Cassidy, Sundance, and the Wild Bunch that helped to both cement their fame and doom them to capture, which McCubbin obtained directly from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (estimate: $100,000-150,000). A tintype of John Wesley Hardin from Hardin’s personal album is among the rarities (est: $50,000-75,000), as is a Doc Holliday carte de visite (est: $70,000-90,000).

Billy the Kid Knife

The collection also features a number of important Old West artifacts, including the knife that Billy the Kid held when he was shot dead by Pat Garett in Pete Maxwell's room July 14, 1881 (estimate: $800,000-1.2 million). Other important artifacts include the ice mallet that killed Wild Bunch outlaw Ben Kilpatrick in the famous failed train robbery (est: $50,000-80,000), Rose of Cimarron's rifle (est: $150,000-200,000), and Wild Bill Hickok's straight razor (est: $70,000-90,000). The ephemera includes hundreds of original documents, including extensive archives related to James Dolan, the Lincoln County War and other important Old West figures and events.

John Wesley Hardin Wigwam Ledger

Auction owner Brian Lebel has known Robert McCubbin for almost 30 years, and is honored to work with him. Lebel says, “Bob has the passion of a collector, but the discipline of a scholar. It’s a rare combination that has resulted in him amassing an unparalleled collection of authentic and well-curated material.” McCubbin acquired many of his very rare and valuable items directly from the heirs and descendants of the legendary subjects, and as a result, many of the most important pieces in the collection are accompanied by impeccable provenance.

Consisting of over 1,500 total pieces, McCubbin’s Collection will be sold both as individual items and grouped into lots across both auctions. Catalogs are available for purchase, or may be viewed online at https://auctions.oldwestevents.com. Complete details may be found at oldwestevents.com, facebook.com/oldwestevents, 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 sale with hundreds of dealers, along with an exciting, live Saturday night auction. Both the 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 Spring of 2014, Lebel purchased the annual 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.

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Most Anticipated Western Shopping Event of the Year Returns to Mesa with Lebel's Old West Show & Auction

The 2019 Western art and antiques season kicks-off with Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction, January 25-27, 2019 in Mesa, AZ, featuring over 180 weekend show dealers, and an exciting two-night live auction event with over $6 million in auction estimates.

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Mesa, AZ – Brian Lebel’s Old West Events presents the 29th annual Mesa Old West Show & Auction (formerly the High Noon Show & Auction) at the Mesa Convention Center and adjacent Delta Marriott Mesa, January 25-27th, 2019. The weekend Old West Show hosts over 180 dealers in authentic cowboy, Western and Native American art, antiques and design; the Old West Auction will see 775 lots cross the block with the auction of the Robert G. McCubbin Collection on Friday night, and the 29th annual Mesa Old West Auction on Saturday night. The annual three-day event is regarded as the premiere event in the Western collecting industry and is attended by collectors and enthusiasts from around the world.

The Mesa Old West Show will feature over 180 national dealers of authentic western art, antiques, apparel, décor, jewelry, collectibles, antique firearms, Native American arts and artifacts, photography, boots, books and other fine western merchandise in all price ranges. Held at the Mesa Convention Center, 9-4 on Saturday and 9-3 on Sunday, January 26-27, 2019. General admission is $10/day, kids under 12 are free, and discount general admission tickets may be purchased online. A Friday “VIP early buy-in” is available for $100, allowing collectors access to the show during all vendor hours, beginning at 8:00 am on Friday morning at the start of dealer set-up.


This year’s Mesa Auction will include a special Friday night sale in addition to the usual Saturday evening auction. The Robert G. McCubbin Old West Photography Collection will be sold exclusively on Friday, January 25th, and includes numerous rare and collectable photographs. Historic artifacts and ephemera from the McCubbin Collection will be offered on Saturday night, January 26th, as part of the annual, multi-consignor Mesa Old West Auction. At over 1,500 total pieces (to be sold individually and in lots), the McCubbin Photography and Artifact Collection is the largest and most extensive of its kind in public hands, and the first to come available for public sale. The most highly anticipated auction lot of the weekend is the Billy the Kid knife, estimated to sell for between $800,000-1.2 million.

Both the Robert G. McCubbin Photography Auction and the 29th Annual Mesa Old West Auction will be held at the Delta Marriott Mesa, January 25-26th, 2019 beginning both nights at 5:00 pm. All lots may be previewed on-site, and the auctions are free and open to the public. Bidder registration is free and bidding may be done live, online, mobile, by phone or absentee. Catalogs are available for purchase, or may be viewed online at https://auctions.oldwestevents.com.

More information on both the show and the auctions is available at www.oldwestevents.com or by calling 480-779-9378. Even more of Old West Events can be found on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, #MesaOldWest.

Mesa Old West Show General Admission Schedule:
Saturday, January 26: 9am - 4pm
Sunday, January 27: 9am - 3pm
$10/day, under 12 free.
Dealer set-up: Friday, January 25, 8am - 5pm. Early entry tickets available for $100.

Mesa Old West Auction Schedule:
The Robert G. McCubbin Photography Collection - Friday, January 25: 5:00 pm
The 29th Annual Old West Auction - Saturday, January 26: 23: 5:00 pm
Preview: Friday, June 22, 9am - 5pm & Saturday, June 23 9am - 4:30pm
Auctions and previews are both free and open to the public.

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Borein Watercolor Brings Top Dollar at Lebel's Mesa Old West Auction

The top lot at Brian Lebel’s Mesa Old West Auction was an action-packed watercolor by cowboy artist Edward Borein that realized $76,700 in front of a packed house at the 28th annual sale. 

MESA, AZ – 305 auction lots crossed the block on Saturday evening, January 20th at Brian Lebel’s Mesa Old West Auction, held live at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa in Mesa, Ariz. Total live sales topped $1.1 million, with an impressive 94.3% sell-through rate. The auction opened to a standing room only crowd of approximately 600 people, with additional bidders on 2 Internet platforms and a busy phone bank, as well as brisk absentee bidding.   

The top seller of the night was lot 139, an Edward Borein watercolor that sold for $76,700, firmly within its $65,000 – 85,000 presale estimate. Lebel’s auctions traditionally do extremely well with Borein’s work, and hold a number of auction sales records for the artist. A smaller watercolor by the artist brought $12,980. The second highest selling lot was lot 201, a shirt, leggings and moccasins outfit that belonged to famed Apache Chief and Geronimo’s nephew, Asa Daklugie, which brought $56,050 to an absentee bidder.

LD Stone Saddle

Continuing the recent trend, cowboy material was very strong. A Bohlin Rose Parade silver parade saddle that once belonged to Bob Tanner brought more than its high estimate of $40,000 realizing $47,200 to a determined phone bidder. Miniature saddles did exceptionally well, with the one-of-a-kind L.D. Stone salesman sample-sized saddle that almost doubled its low estimate, ultimately realizing $44,250 to a floor bidder in the room. The highly anticipated set of Duff Severe salesman sample-sized saddles that had once been displayed at the Smithsonian realized $26,550.

Salesman sample saddles were not the only popular miniatures of the evening. A group of three Roy Luttrell miniature wagons each brought more than 4 times their high estimates of $4,000, selling for $18,800, $20,060 and $21,240 each after fast-paced bidding between a floor bidder and an absentee bidder. They were the runaway items of the night, resulting in a round of applause from the packed room.  

Hollywood cowboys did well, with a Matt Dillon “Gunsmoke” used Colt Single Action bringing $24,780 to a floor bidder, which was more than twice its low estimate of $10,000. Monte Hale’s Colt Single Action realized $9,440, almost 8 times its low estimate of $1,200. Who says the old Hollywood cowboys have been forgotten?

Auction owner, Brian Lebel is pleased with the results. “I am thrilled to see that cowboy material continues to sell well,” says Lebel. “This business is always changing, but it’s heartening to know that great material still sells for great prices. We say that all the time in our business, but it’s nice to be reminded that it’s true.”

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The Old West Show saw record-breaking crowds on Saturday, and brisk dealer and early-buy-in sales on Friday. Vendors were extremely happy, and there were numerous reports of nearly sold-out booths and six-figure sales. Next year’s Mesa Event dates are January 26, 2019 for the Auction and Jan 26-27 for the Mesa Old West Show. The June Cody Old West Show & Auction will celebrate its 29th annual event this June 23-24, 2018 at its new venue in Santa Fe, NM at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Visit OldWestEvents.com for details.

(all prices include buyer’s premium)