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.
Streets of Laredo contains most your standard Western gunfare: Yer Colt 45, Yer Winchester '73, and Yer double barrel shotgun ....
But it also has 2 unique weapons - plus another that's fairly uncommon.
I was not able to locate any resources that specifically itemized the Guns in Streets of Laredo. It took considerable detective work to discover the identity of at least 2 of the firearms. A Thank You goes to my brother Richard who identified the mysterious and unusual shotgun carried by Charles Martin Smith.
Most of the main characters use handguns at some point Streets of Laredo - including Sissy Spacek and Sonja Baca.
The handgun of choice appears to be the famous Colt 45 - either long or short barrel.
Near the beginning Episode 1 (of 3) of Streets of Laredo, James Garner (Captain Woodrow Call) is offered a pearl handled Colt by his employer - which he refuses - upon advice there may 'strings attached'.
Randy Quaid, who plays the very surly John Wesley Hardin in Streets of Laredo, brandishes a nickel plated handgun that looks almost too grand to be a ‘shootin’ iron’ of the Old West.
But there it is. This gun was not easy to for me to identify and I'm still not certain I have it right, but I'm going with a:
Subsequent editions of a successful weapon design often remain or appear almost identical to the original - even over years of production - with only minor refinements. Or can be copied by other Manufacturers.
In other words, they aren't easy to identify. So this is just a guess on my part.
Top Breaking handguns.
When you consider that the 'top breaking' feature (similar to double barrel shotgun) of this handgun appears to be make loading and unloading quicker and easier, you’d think they would have been more popular, but it seems the side loading style of the Colts was more common. I do not know who originally invented this design, but it was clearly used by other manufacturers as well - including Colt.