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)

Billy the Kid Tintype Brings $2.3 Million

Billy the Kid Tintype

Billy the Kid Tintype

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Billy the Kid Tintype Brings $2.3 Million at Record-Breaking Auction

Denver, CO -- The famous “Upham tintype” of Billy the Kid sold on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, bringing $2.3 million including the premium. This is a record price paid at auction for an historical photograph, and is a record for any single item at Lebel’s event, now in its 22nd year. Total sales equaled $3.6 million for 444 lots, a total sales record for the auction house. An impressive 94% sales rate was realized overall.

 It took 2 1/2 minutes from the opening bid to the fall of the hammer for Billy’s tintype to sell, with 5 bidders involved to 1.2 million and 2 bidders through the final stretch, all of whom were present on the floor. The winning bidder was Florida billionaire and collector, William Koch, who graciously granted interviews, posed for photos and even signed autographs after the sale.

 A number of pieces brought well above-estimate prices, including a John Wayne Productions movie hat that sold on the telephone for $17,250, more than 10 times the low estimate. The Andy Warhol serigraph, “Mother and Child” (est. $8 -10,000), brought $18,400. Other notable pieces include the Ed Borein watercolor, “California Vaquero” which brought $138,000, a record auction price for a Borein watercolor. A Colt Single Action with provenance to the Johnson County War brought $46,000 in a heated bidding contest.

 Brian Lebel, auction owner, stated, “Across the board, prices were strong, and good pieces brought good money, as they always do. I hear people complain that no one is interested in Western art and Americana anymore. I would like to think that this past weekend proves otherwise.”

 A complete list of prices realized is available at www.denveroldwest.com. Additional details from the auction appear below.

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MORE AUCTION LOT DETAILS:

Personal belt buckles of rodeo legend Jim Shoulders sold in 3 consecutive lots for a total of $27,600 combined, with the first offered bringing an impressive $12,650.

Phone bidding was fast and furious for a unique and finely woven Navajo “cow rug” that brought $8,625 (est. $3,500 - 5,500).

The personal scrapbook of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West performer, Jordan Cottle brought $20,700 after a lively battle between bidders on the floor and the phones. Cottle’s Wild West presentation Colt Double Action was equally sought after, realizing $26,450 in another contest between the phones and the floor.

 The best line of the night was likely heard during the sale of original copies of the divorce depositions between Buffalo Bill Cody and his wife Louisa Cody. When the bidding stalled at $5,000 a ringman exclaimed, “They’re the cheapest divorce papers you’ll ever get!” They sold for $6,325.

(All prices include buyers’ premium.)