Three Wanted Posters For Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Sell For $12,500 Four-Day American History Sale Included Items Pertaining To Wild West Outlaws

July 10, 2024

A group of three original wanted posters for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, including two original Pinkerton wanted posters/circulars, sold for $12,500, while wanted posters and other items pertaining to many other notorious Wild West outlaws also performed well in Holabird Western Americana Collections LLCs four-day American History & Hall of Fame Showcase auction held June 6 to 9, online and live at the Holabird gallery in Reno, Nev. A staggering 2,335 lots came up for bid across the four days, in many collecting categories. The Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid posters sold as one lot and represented one of the top lots overall. The two outlaws were famously depicted in a movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Spoiler alert, they died in a hail of gunfire at the end. In real life, they met a similar fate, in Bolivia. That lot, and others like it, were featured on day three, the busiest of the sessions. Other top achievers also featured famous outlaws, such as an 1882 wanted poster for Black Bart Poet Stage Robber, offering an $800 reward, along with a circular compiled by J.B. Hume, a Wells Fargo Special Officer, containing a poem written by Bart found after a robbery. Barts real name was Charles E. Boles. The lot sold for $7,187. A rare original carte-de-visite photograph of Black Bart, circulated by Wells Fargo out of Sacramento, Calif., realized $3,875. The lot also featured a photograph of Bart, signed (as Charles E. Boles), from when he served as a U.S. Army First Sergeant in Illinois. A collection of nine items relating to the notorious Dalton Gang, including a carte-de-visite of the deceased gang, taken by a Kansas photographer after a botched bank robbery attempt, and Gratton Daltons signed oath of office to become a U.S. Marshal. The grouping brought $5,000. A Wells Fargo $1,800 reward poster issued in 1881 for three masked men still at large after the Nov. 7, 1881, robbery of the stage from Sonora to Milton, Calif., went for $4,875. The men included Billy Minor (or Miner, alias Billy Anderson, alias the Grey Fox). A collection of four items from the life of John Wesley Hardin (1853-95), a hardened criminal, Western outlaw and murderer of at least a dozen men, who became a lawyer at the end of his life, only to have himself murdered in El Paso by a jealous man, sold for $3,375. Also sold were two Wells Fargo reward posters from 1875: one issued in San Francisco by Gen. Superintendent John J. Valentine, offering a $3,000 reward for the recovery of gold bars and dust stolen from the Express Box from Sonora and Columbia to Milton ($2,500), and one, also from Valentine, offering a reward for the capture of an unknown bandit who stole a Wells Fargo & Co.s express box on the Chinese and Copperopolis stage of $600 in coin and gold dust ($4,375). Internet bidding was via iCollector.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. All prices reported include an 18-percent buyers premium. Day one featured 590 lots of Native Americana, jewelry and watches, collectibles, books / antiquarian, medical collectibles, advertising items, toys and kids items. A copy of Pentateuch /Salonica 1521, very old and with handwriting on two sides, realized $8,750. It traces the history of the Jews of Thessaloniki (also known as Salonika) dating back 2,000 years. In Greek, the Pentateuch (which Jews call the Torah) includes the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, containing some of the most famous stories in the Bible, including Adam and Eve, Jacob and his brothers, Moses and the Ten Commandments. Day two contained 550 lots of maps, transportation and railroad (including two key railroad pass collections), plus old stock certificates (including banking, railroad and other). A railroad pass (#131) for the Bodie and Benton and Commercial Co. from 1887, issued to W. H. Jones, Arizona & New Mexico Railroad, signed by Thomas Falk, Gen. Supt., brought $6,562. As stated, day three was busy, with 595 lots of Wells Fargo & Express, outlaws and lawmen, autographs, Revolutionary War and early military, President Lincoln, the JFK assassination, Black Americana, Civil War, Gen. George A. Custer, presidential, firearms and weaponry, sports / Hall of Fame, baseball, basketball, boxing, football and many other items. Black Americana featured an original ferrotype photograph of eight of the founding members of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society (better known collectively as the Underground Railroad, which shuttled slaves from the South to the North in the 1800s). The photograph was taken ca. 1855-60, with identifying notes included ($6,875). Items pertaining to the Civil War included an autograph book (and thus an actual POW record) of 116 Confederate officers held at Johnsons Island, Ohio. The rare firsthand record of the POWs, containing two autographs per page, included some of General Morgans Raiders, an unsuccessful attempt to secretly raid Union camps in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky ($5,000). The Lincoln County War was an Old West conflict between rival factions that began in 1878 in the Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory (later the state of New Mexico), and continued until 1881. The feud involved William H. Bonney (Billy the Kid), Sheriff William J. Brady and other notables. A collection of 17 rare Lincoln County War documents achieved $6,250. Lots relating to Abraham Lincoln always stir bidder interest. The auction included these three items from the days of mourning following Lincolns assassination, including a black mourning ribbon with P.S. Lincoln stamped in silver; a funeral card adorned with 16 silver metal spirals; and an official White House pass to the 1865 funeral ($4,500). A Lincoln & Hamlin 1860 campaign envelope and coated engraved jugate card with portraits of the two men, in fine condition. In the 1860 election, Hamlin balanced the Republican ticket as a New Englander paired with the Northwesterner Lincoln. It sold for $3,125. A Military Trial of Conspirators pass signed by Gen. David Hunter, president of the Military Commission Trial of the Conspirators following Lincolns assassination. The pass admitted two men (named) and three of their friends into the courtroom, and it sold for $2,500. The famous Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by Bob Jackson in 1963 the moment JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters, signed by homicide detective James Robert Leavelle (1920-2019), who is shown in the photo wearing a white cowboy hat and expressing wide-eyed shock, made $3,750. A cabinet card with a photo of a senior Chief Sitting Bull, the image crisp with good contrast, changed hands for $3,250. The back of the card reads, Compliments of Mary Moore, possibly the famous actress of the time. Sitting Bull fought the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn but was not the leader. He later accompanied Buffalo Bill in his very popular Wild West Show. Baseball lots included an autograph cut square with the signatures (in pencil) of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig ($4,625); an autograph cut of Roger Connor (1857-1931), known as the Homerun King of the dead ball era ($2,600); and a group of four items pertaining to the infamous Black Sox World Series scandal of 1919, including a ticket stub from Game 2, a World Series program, an autograph of Ring Lardner and a check issued to the man who instituted the fix ($2,750). Day four was also active, with 600 lots of mining, numismatics, tokens, Worlds Fair memorabilia, bottles, saloon, tobacciana, gaming, cowboy, entertainment, music, photographs, ephemera and philatelic, a fitting end to a four-day auction packed with great stuff. A document of pledges signed by the United Merchants of Austin, Nevada for one Sack of Flour, auctioned for the U.S. Sanitary Fund (the Civil War forerunner of the American Red Cross) on April 20, 1864, signed by Ruel Colt Gridley, whose wager prompted the auction, along with a billhead from Gridleys store and a carte de visite photograph of him, went for $3,125. An elegant glossy finished wooden case containing five different portraits of Queen Elizabeth appearing on gold sovereign coins, all in brilliant uncirculated condition and dated 1958, 1978, 1986, 2007 and 2020, changed hands for $3,012. Each one shows a different portrait of the monarch. Included was a brochure detailing the coins designers and the Queens family tree. To learn more, email fredholabird@gmail.com or visit www.holabirdamericana.com.

 

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