Up For Auction: Annie Oakley Gun And More Old West Prizes
Check out the rare collectibles on offer at Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction.
Images: Courtesy Brian Lebel's Old West Show & Auction
On the heels of its record-setting $2.3 million auction of the Billy the Kid tintype, Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction has more Old West on offer this June in Denver. Among the rare items this time, one of Annie Oakley’s guns, a Buffalo Bill’s Wild West parade flag, and a Borein watercolor.
Cowboys & Indians: For folks who missed their chance to bid on the Billy the Kid tintype, tell us about some of the standouts you've got coming up in June. …
Melissa McCracken, Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction: Our upcoming auction on June 23, 2012 includes a number of exciting Western collectibles. This year we are proud to offer one of Annie Oakley’s Parker shotguns (pictured above). It includes a factory letter showing that it shipped directly to Frank Butler (Annie’s husband and manager), in care of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and was manufactured to Annie’s particular configuration.
Also from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is an extremely rare parade flag (pictured at right) dating to the late 1890s in fantastic condition for its use and age. We have a number of firearms, badges, and other memorabilia related to outlaws and lawmen of the Old West, as well as some great Native American antiquities, including a pony-beaded Nez Perce dress, ca. 1870 (pony beads are larger and rarer than the more commonly seen seed beads).
For Western art collectors we are offering a stunning Edward Borein watercolor (pictured below) of two finely adorned charros riding through a California mission courtyard. Collectors of “Hollywood Western” might be interested in one of John Wayne’s personal Nudie’s dress hats. With over 300 lots being sold at auction, there really is something for every taste and budget.
C&I: What's hot right now in collecting?
McCracken: What’s hot right now are items that are the very best of the best, or the rarest of the rare. Great items will always be great and will always fetch big prices. Now is an excellent time for new collectors to get in the game because prices on entry-level pieces are very fair right now. The economic troubles of the past few years have created an interesting situation where beginning pieces are selling at very reasonable prices while the upper-echelon pieces are finally being offered for sale.
C&I: What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to collect western memorabilia and might not know the auction ropes?
McCracken: Do your homework, both as regards the items you’d like to collect and the people you’re thinking of doing business with. Reputation matters. Seek out reputable dealers and auctions that stand behind what they sell. Attend some shows and auctions in person and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone has to start somewhere, and most experienced dealers and collectors are more than happy to share their experience and knowledge. Don’t be afraid of auctions. Some people have this TV/movie idea that if they sneeze during an auction they might accidentally purchase a million dollar painting — it doesn’t happen that way. Western memorabilia auctions are casual, fun and can be, as was the case with the Billy the Kid tintype, very exciting.
Buying at auction is just one way of building a collection. Western memorabilia shows are another great source for collectibles, especially because a large show (our show presents over 200 dealers) offers items in just about every area of interest and price range, from $10 to $100,000 or more. Also, don’t forget about contemporary art and collectibles. There are amazing artists and artisans producing Western works in the traditions of the Old West and forging new Western American traditions. After all, Billy the Kid’s photograph was new at one time, too.