Published: February 25, 2020
DALLAS — More than two dozen collectors made bids for a documented 10-gauge shotgun used by Wyatt Earp to kill “Curly Bill” Brocius, driving its final price to $375,000, almost quadruple its $100,000 estimate. It was the top lot at Heritage Auctions’ Americana and Political Auction February 22-23.
The weapon, which Earp borrowed from friend Fred Dodge, went to auction with stellar provenance. When Dodge died in 1938, it was among many items that were passed down to his son, Fred Dodge Jr, who then sold the weapon in 1963 (in a transaction from which the bill of sale can be seen at www.ha.com). When dealer Greg Martin sold the gun after purchasing it in 1984, he wrote “The Stevens double-barreled shotgun serial number 927 you recently obtained from me represents one of the most important historical treasures I have ever owned…In my opinion the great historical associations, the first-hand accounts, and the impeccable documentation of ownership through the Dodge family make your Stevens shotgun one of the great treasures of the Old West. It is a direct link between Wyatt Earp and an era of American lore that is of incalculable importance.” The gun was accompanied in the auction by a photostat of the 1963 bill of sale from the younger Dodge, Martin’s letter and a letter from Jim Earle, a renowned collector who owned it in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Also included was an archive of more than 25 original documents relating to its provenance. Watch for a full review of the auction in an upcoming issue.
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