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 or by calling 480-779-9378.

*(all reported prices include buyers premium)

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 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: 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.