Rare Alfred Jacob Miller Watercolor Sells for $141,600 at Lebel’s Old West Auction

The top lot at Brian Lebel’s 28th annual Old West Auction was a small watercolor by American frontier artist Alfred Jacob Miller that realized $141,600 after spirited bidding.  

FORT WORTH, TX – 420 auction lots crossed the block on the evening of June 10, 2017 at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, held live at the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Hall of the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Total sales were just shy of $1 million with an astonishing 94% sell-through rate. Approximately 300 people attended the live event, with several hundred more bidding on the Internet and phone.  


The top seller of the night was lot 179, an Alfred Jacob Miller watercolor that sold for $141,600, firmly within its $125,000 - 175,000 presale estimate. Miller traveled and painted the far American West in the early frontier years, and though he was not particularly famous in his lifetime, he is now considered among the greatest painters of the American West. 

As always, cowboy artifacts and trappings were strong sellers, with a custom and rare pair of Bob Boone spurs bringing $41,300 to an excited floor bidder, and realizing more than twice their low estimate. A pair of custom Bohlin spurs designed to commemorate the Texas Sesquicentennial realized an impressive $17,700. Also by Bohlin was a stunning “Beverly Special” parade saddle, which brought $20,650, just surpassing its high estimate of $20,000.

There are always a few surprise run-away items, and this sale was no exception. A wonderful photograph of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West cast that had been taken at Auburn prison sold for $4,720, which was more than 5 times its low estimate. Also selling at more than 5 times its low estimate was a Colt revolver that had been used by actress Gail Davis in the television character of Annie Oakley. Estimated at $1,800 – 2,400, it sold for $10,030 to a phone bidder.

Auction owner, Brian Lebel is pleased with the results, and equally pleased with the overall interest in the sale. “We had great response,” Lebel says. “We had an increase in bidders over last June on every level: live, phone and internet.” He attributes the uptick to the wide variety of material offered. “This was one of those auctions where there was a little bit of everything, in all price ranges no less. That keeps it interesting for more people.” 

Lebel’s Old West Events also hosts the annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show and Auction in Mesa, Arizona, which will be held January 20-21, 2018. For more information about either event, including how to become a Show vendor or Auction consignor, visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.
(all prices include buyer’s premium)