Jesse James, Butch Cassidy & Billy the Kid Ride Together at Bonhams NY

NEW YORK—Bonhams Fine Books & Manuscripts sale on April 7, Treasures from The Caren Archive, will feature a reward poster issued in the aftermath of the first daylight bank robbery in U.S. history, an audacious raid made doubly significant by its being the first heist accredited to legendary bandit Jesse James (est. $8,000-12,000).   

On February 13, 1866 a dozen outlaws on horseback rode into Liberty Missouri, robbed the town’s bank, killed an innocent bystander, and rode away with $60,000. Jesse James and his brother Frank were among the raid’s architects (although an injured Jesse did not ride with the gang that day).

The present poster offers a $4,000 reward for information leading to their capture. While reproductions of Western reward posters may be found in gift shops across the country, originals such as this are exceedingly rare and are consequently very highly prized among collectors. 

Treasures from The Caren Archive will encompass nearly 300 items including rare newspapers, broadsides, photographs, books, and manuscripts dating from the 16th century through the 1960s.

Additional Wild West themed lots will include a mugshot of Butch Cassidy issued by the Pinkerton Detective Agency (est. $20,000-30,000) and a broadside announcing amnesty in the Lincoln County War—one of the only printed items extant from this famous blood-feud involving Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (est. $4,000-6,000)

Treasures from The Caren Archive will take place on April 7 at Bonhams New York. The auction will preview at Bonhams April 3-7.  

A complete catalog will be available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21962/.

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