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)

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)

Blackfoot War Shirt brings $109,250 at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona

A Blackfoot man’s beaded and hide shirt was top seller at the 26th annual auction of western art and Americana, which saw over 400 lots cross the block and realized $1.4 million in sales.

MESA, AZ – Nearly 500 people attended the 26th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday night, January 23rd, bidding on 430 lots of authentic cowboy, Indian and Western art and artifacts. Held at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, the sale drew almost as many phone and internet bidders as live ones, keeping the phone-bank and the ring-men busy all night. With total sales topping $1.4 million, and lots in every price range, the fast-paced sale realized an incredible 93.5% sell-through rate.

From cover to cover, the sale was strong; the evening’s top seller was the catalog front cover lot, a Blackfoot man’s war shirt that sold for $109,250 to a phone bidder. (It was one of many Native American artifacts to bring impressive prices.) The back cover of the catalog, an Edward Borein watercolor, sold for $51,750, well above its presale estimate of $30,000-35,000. Lebel’s auctions are well-known for their Borein sales, as his June “Old West Auction” currently holds the Borein watercolor record.

Other notable western fine artists also brought fine prices, including a large and impressive Howard Post of a trio of horses that sold above estimate at $27,225; a LaVerne Nelson Black that more than doubled its low estimate, selling for $14,160; and a Charlie Russell bronze, which sold firmly within estimate at $9,200. Among the fine art bargains of the evening was a lively Ernesto Icaza, estimated at $15,000-25,000 that realized $12,980.

Saddles, spurs and other cowboy trappings are always big sellers, with a bit and spur set from Goldberg/Staunton bringing $40,250 after a bidding war between the phones and the floor, with the floor bidder ultimately prevailing. Historic firearms did well, as was evidenced by the sale of a Trapdoor Officer’s Model sporting rifle that sold above estimate for $19,550. An historic Ulysses S. Grant Peace Medal sold for $37,375 after yet another floor versus phone bidding frenzy.

Brian Lebel, auction owner, is pleased with the sale and enthusiastic about the market. His weekend vendor sale that accompanies the auction – Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show – was equally as successful, with record-breaking attendance and millions of dollars in sales. According to Lebel, “despite plummeting stocks, global conflict, record breaking snow, and an election year, it is clear from our crowds and results that the western art and antiques market remains robust and shows no signs of slowing.” Lebel is also happy with the growing global interest in the industry. “We had vendors and shoppers from around the world,” says Lebel. “I personally spoke to folks from Germany, Belgium, France and Tokyo.”

Next year’s Mesa High Noon Show & Auction will be held January 21-22, 2017 at the Mesa Convention Center and Phoenix Marriott Mesa, respectively. Lebel’s next event is the 27th annual “Old West Show & Auction” which will be held June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information on any of these events, visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.

(all reported prices include buyers premium)

Tom Horn Winchester Leads $1.8 million Sale!

February 1, 2015                    

 Tom Horn’s Winchester is Top Seller at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, AZ

The last Winchester owned by old west outlaw, Tom Horn, sold for $149,500 at the 25th annual High Noon Auction, which realized over $1.8 million in total sales.

MESA, AZ – Over 400 auction lots crossed the block on the evening of January 24, 2015 at Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction, which saw total sales exceeding $1.8 million, with an impressive 95% sell-through rate. Almost 400 people were in attendance at the live event, with another few hundred bidding on the phones, absentee or via the Internet. Celebrating its 25th annual sale, it was the first High Noon Auction hosted by Brian Lebel since he purchased the event last Spring. According to Lebel, “we couldn’t have hoped for better results. We’re proud to carry on this tradition.”

The top seller of the night was lot 308, Tom Horn’s Winchester, which sold for $149,500 to a very excited phone bidder. Bidding was fast and furious, with interest coming from the phones, the Internet and the floor bidders. The lot sold firmly within its presale estimate of $125,000 - $175,000.

The second highest priced lot was the catalog cover lot, a Charles Russell letter to his friend the actor Harry Carey, which was one of numerous items from the Carey Family estate. The letter, which featured a Russell drawing and referred comically to buried booze on Carey’s ranch during Prohibition, sold for $126,500, which was slightly above its presale estimate of $90,000 - $115,000. It also sold to a phone bidder after a spirited bidding war between the phones and the floor.

Native American antiquities sold particularly well, with a stunning Cheyenne beaded cradleboard bringing $34,500, a very old Pueblo shield selling for $33,350 and a fine Plains beaded men’s war shirt realizing $32,200.

Fine art brought respectable prices as always, for both contemporary and deceased artists. Raphael Lillywhite’s (1891-1958) “Taos Scene” sold for $19,550; a rare Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012) original of a teepee scene entitled “Campfire at Dusk” brought $15,930 (just under its high estimate of $16,000); and a pair of John Moyers (b. 1958) oils brought $23,000 and $28,750. The surprise artwork sale of the night was the original mixed media painting by Richard Amsel for the movie poster for John Wayne’s final film, “The Shootist.” It sold for $18,400, which was more than twice its low estimate of $8,000. 

Perhaps the most excited bidder of the evening was the gentleman who won the bid for Harry Carey, Jr’s motorcycle vest from the 1985 movie, “The Mask.” Upon winning the bid for $1,046, he leapt to his feet with a cheer. He then wore his purchase for the rest of the evening, and then again all the next day at the affiliated event, Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show. Featuring over 165 vendors, the show hosted record numbers of attendees, and was widely said to be, “the best show we’ve attended in years.”

For more information about Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show & Auction, or the upcoming Old West Show & Auction to be held June 6-7, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas, please visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.

Custer 7th Cavalry Revolver was Top Seller at Old West Auction


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.