Bonhams offers a taste of the Wild West

Global auctioneer and Game Fair regular Bonhams announces has been entrusted with the sale of one of the most important and well-documented collection of firearms belonging to Western lawmen and outlaw legends.

Among the highlights of The Early West: The Collection of Jim and Theresa Earle, is arguably the most iconic treasure of early western history – the gun Pat Garrett used to kill Billy The Kid (estimate: $2-3 million).

Jim Earle, a beloved engineering professor at Texas A&M, and his wife Theresa assembled this incredible collection over the course of more than 40 years and it includes historical firearms, Western manuscripts and memorabilia along with some Western art.

The Earle Collection also includes the most important and well-documented Bat Masterson Colt single action, ordered by the famous letter written from the Opera House Saloon in Dodge City on July 14, 1885 (estimate: $200,000-300,000).

The manuscript highlights from the collection include the original signed book contract for Pat Garrett’s landmark 1881 account of The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid, the foundation of the Billy the Kid legend and one of the most important works in Western literature (estimate: $8,000-12,000). Also, John Wesley Hardin’s final bar tab and autograph, signed as he left the Wigwam Saloon in El Paso just hours before he was killed inside the Acme Saloon (estimate: $10,000-15,000).

Selected highlights from the sale will be on public exhibition at Bonhams Los Angeles starting in June leading up to full exhibition and auction in August 2021.

Darren Sutherland, Bonhams’ senior specialist of books and manuscripts, said: “Jim and Theresa were fastidious collectors and their attention to provenance and thorough research shows in every aspect in this once in a generation collection. We are thrilled to be offering this fantastic collection of lawmen and outlaw’s firearms, as well as an incredible collection of supporting manuscripts, photographs and ephemera from the early west.”

Further details of The Collection of Jim and Theresa Earle will be announced in June.

Join Over 100,000 Fellow Attendees & Visitors

Sign up to our Newsletter today.