Tombstone Bank Signature Book Brings $68,750 at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS—A one-of-a-kind signature book from Arizona’s Pima County Bank, containing names of Wild West celebrities such as Wyatt and Virgil Earp and hundreds of Tombstone citizens during the era of the O.K. Corral gunfight, sold for $68,750 in Heritage Auctions’ Legends of the West Signature® Auction in Dallas. The auction featured nearly 400 lots of widely varied Old West collectibles, including guns, photos, badges, items owned by historical figures, books, and manuscripts. 

A large collection of items relating to Buffalo Bill Cody captured bidder’s attention as his personally owned Colt model 1873 Frontier Six Shooter Revolver and a Grizzly Bear Claw Necklace, gifted by none other than Chief Sitting Bull each respectively brought $40,625.

“This auction shows the public is still fascinated by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and the spirit of America’s wild west,” said Tom Slater, Director of Americana Auctions at Heritage. “Both the revolver and the grizzly necklace far exceeded our expectations, as did many other items related to his life and times.”

The 1880s necklace, which was expected to sell for $12,000, is fashioned from 10 deadly grizzly bear claws, varying in length from 3” to 4-1/5” long, along with assorted beads, and strung together with animal sinew. Necklaces such as these could only be given between men and native lore claimed the wearer was protected by the grizzly’s awesome strength. Sitting Bull was with Buffalo Bill's Wild West just during 1885, but he and Cody formed a bond that lasted until Sitting Bull's murder in 1890.

Cody’s personally-owned Colt model 1873 Frontier Six Shooter Revolver, was expected to sell for $30,000. The circa 1882 revolver was like many of the unassuming utilitarian guns Cody relied on for everyday use. The pistol is one of only five known Colt Single Action Army Revolvers—and the only Colt Frontier model Six Shooter—documented to have belonged to the American soldier and showman.

It’s believed Cody purchased the revolver at the famous firearm seller Hartley & Graham in January 1883 while on extended stay in New York City with his theatre troupe. It is possible Cody used this as a prop sidearm in his stage plays, which continued touring during Fall and Winter until 1886, and in the Wild West which, of course, would go on for another 30 years. These and other Buffalo Bill items were cataloged by Paul Fees, the eminent expert on Cody and Annie Oakley who for years served as curator of the collection at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to: 

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