Wednesday 18 October 2017

Bidder gets Annie's gun for £93,000

This photograph of Annie Oakley was taken in New York between 1902 and 1904 (AP/Heritage Auctions)
This photograph of Annie Oakley was taken in New York between 1902 and 1904 (AP/Heritage Auctions)

A shotgun that once belonged to Western sharpshooter and entertainer Annie Oakley has sold for more than £93,000 at an auction in Dallas, Texas.

The trove of about 100 of her items headlining Heritage Auctions' Legends Of The Wild West event brought in nearly 520,000 dollars (£337,600), according to the auction house.

The items included several guns, her Stetson hat, photographs and letters. Oakley's great-grandnieces put up the items and had inherited them from their mother, who died in 2009.

One of those descendants, Terrye Holcomb, said, overall, the auction's success left her with a positive feeling, but "there's a little bit of melancholy and sadness that goes with it".

The items had been passed down through generations. Ms Holcomb remembers shooting the guns for target practice on Sunday mornings in California's Santa Monica Mountains and wearing Oakley's Stetson - which sold for 17,925 dollars (£11,600) - for Halloween.

One man who flew in from Odessa in the Ukraine to bid on one of two Marlin .22 calibre rifles - one sold for 71,700 dollars (£46,500) and the other for 83,650 dollars (£54,300) - asked Ms Holcomb and her sister, Tommye Tait, to sign his catalogue after buying one of the rifles. "He said his kids couldn't wait to shoot it," Ms Holcomb said.

The sisters inherited the items from their mother, Billie Butler Serene, who died in 2009 at 95. Ms Serene was raised by her grandparents, and her grandfather, William Butler, was the brother of Oakley's husband Frank Butler, a marksman who became Oakley's manager. Oakley and Frank Butler frequently visited and Oakley taught Ms Serene how to handle a gun.

Oakley's Parker Brothers 12-gauge shotgun garnered the highest price, 143,400 dollars (£93,116). Tom Slater, Director of Historical Auctions for Heritage, would not identify the gun's buyer, but said he was a private collector of Oakley and Buffalo Bill items and had purchased a number of Sunday's auction pieces.

While the guns' prices met the auction's expectations, the letters and photographs exceeded what was anticipated by about 50%, Mr Slater said. It was rare for so many pieces with a strong family connection to come on the market, he said.

Oakley became famous for her marksmanship while travelling in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. She died in 1926 at 66.

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