SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — An auction of memorabilia tied to legendary Arizona lawman Wyatt Earp drew more than 6,400 online bidders and more than 400 collectors to a lively, standing-room-only auction house here Thursday night.
Headlining the auction was a Colt .45-caliber revolver that descendants of Earp say was carried during his time in Tombstone, Ariz., and possibly used in the shootout at the O.K. Corral.
It sold to a New Mexico phone bidder for $225,000, far exceeding the pre-auction estimated high value of $150,000. The audience hooted and hollered appreciatively.
“I think we crushed it,” said Josh Levine, owner of J. Levine Auction & Appraisal. “I was happy the fair market really decided what these items were worth. I had no idea whether these items were going to sell.”
Among those who took home pieces of iconic Wild West history was John Anderson, a founder of Isagenix International in Chandler, Ariz. He outbid others to snag Earp’s Winchester lever-action shotgun for $50,000, though its high value was at $125,000.
The collector of antique guns also picked up a Remingtonball and cap revolver belonging to Earp’s lawman grandfather for $12,000 and the vast archive of three-time Earp author Glenn Boyer for $55,000.
“That’s irreplaceable information that is a part of Southwest history,” Anderson said.
The auction was not without controversy.
Some collectors questioned the authenticity of Earp items that came from the estate of Boyer, a resident of Tucson, Ariz.
A group of Earp historians have claimed that Boyer, who died last year, fabricated parts of his books. Other Earp historians said Boyer was a legend in his own right for his vast research collected over 40 years on the lawman and gambler.
The Colt .45-caliber revolver that sold to the New Mexico bidder was considered controversial because its serial number was rubbed off and the gun’s barrel, cylinder and grips had been replaced.
After the auction, Anderson said he might later donate the Boyer archive to the University of Arizona.
“It shouldn’t leave the state,” he said.
When asked about the plan Thursday, Boyer’s widow Jane Coleman said, “Glenn would hate that.”
The University of Arizona Press originally published Boyer’s book I Married Wyatt Earp in 1976, but Boyer later republished the book with a non-academic shop after a falling out with the original publisher.
Other notable items in the auction included a Colt revolver belonging to Earp’s brother, Virgil, that sold for $37,500, exceeding its estimated value of $30,000.