Energy in the Auction Rooms
- by Bruce E. McKinney
John's Western Gallery Catalogue 12 Lot 7
At John's Western Gallery on Friday the 18th the sale of premium Wyatt Earp material failed to reach critical mass. The catalogue presentation was attractive and complete but of the 121 lots only 57, with an aggregate hammer price of $60,915, found new homes. Rick Wilkinson of John's said "This is great material but of primary interest only to very focused collectors. For those who bid it was a chance to buy exceptional material at very fair prices." Most of the money was in one item, diagram of a shoot-out in Tombstone, Arizona [October 26th, 1881] - Wyatt Earp's 1926 sketch of this gun-fight in which he was a famous participant. This piece of history sold for $40,000. The other lots brought an average of $373. Here is the description of the Earp sketch.
EARP, Wyatt. Holograph pencil diagram of the Tombstone city block bounded by Fourth Street, Allen Street, Third Street, and Fremont Street... ...delineating the locations of Frank and Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton when Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp, accompanied by "Doc" Holliday, arrived at the street fight. "Doc" is in Fremont Street, where he will remain, but Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan are just off the street in the vacant lot between the Harwood house and Fly's Boarding House & Gallery. Two-ring 10 1/2" x 7 3/4" graph paper with Earp diagram on recto and John H. Flood, Jr. notes on verso. [Los Angeles], Friday evening, April 4, 1924. Complete in detail to inclusion of dots representing where Frank & Tom McLaury and Billy Clanton lay at the end of the fight. Locations at the outset are labeled "X" with first names. Dots are not labeled but are, of course identifiable as it is well known that Tom McLaury died at the foot of the two-span telegraph pole on the corner of Fremont & Third Streets and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton are indicated lying in Fremont Street. The 1926 diagram of this fight that sold in June of 2004 was drawn by Flood at Earp's direction, with marks indicating participants inserted by Wyatt himself. This diagram is all in the hand of Wyatt Earp. Paper is very lightly darkened; otherwise all near fine. WEM Inventory #117.Unsold material and many other related items are being sold on their website: http://johnswesterngallery.com
Overall it was a good week.