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.

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.

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.)