Jesse James was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer, who as a teenager rode off to join Confederate guerrillas in 1864. He fancied himself a modern Robin Hood, robbing from Radical Republicans and giving to the poor.
Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death. He remains a controversial symbol, one who can always be reinterpreted in various ways. Now, a gun belt belonging to Jesse James, one of just two the gunslinger was known to have had at the time of his death at the hands of Robert Ford is the highlight of Heritage Auctions’ Legends of the Wild West event. Expecting to fetch more than $10.000, this collectible item will attract many fans of cowboy bad guys.
The auction also includes a rare cabinet-sized photo of James that’s estimated to bring a minimum $2,500 bid.
More than 140 “Outlaw” artifacts from the collection to the late Wilbur Zink of Springfield, MO (one of the most renowned collectors of such material) will also be offered on sale and presented as a separate catalog within the auction.
“Authentic outlaw material is genuinely rare,” said Tom Slater, Director of Historical and Americana Auctions at Heritage. “We’ve always considered ourselves fortunate to offer even a few items at auction. A grouping like this, with material that has never been offered, is a very special thing — we hope people can appreciate the magnitude of its being presented all at once. This is a once-in-a-generation auction.”
The auction begins June 22 at 1 p.m. and runs through June 23.