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Winning Bids: June 2014

$23,500 Buffalo Bill Memorabilia

William Cody had several careers—cattle herder, wagon train driver, fur trapper, and gold miner—before he joined the Pony Express in 1860, at the advanced age of 14. His better-known moniker, Buffalo Bill, came after the Civil War, while he was an Army scout and when stories spread about his skills as a hunter. He combined all of his experience with perhaps his greatest talent—showmanship—to produce Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, a traveling spectacle with a cast of hundreds, which ran from about 1886 until Cody was forced to sell the show to creditors, a few years before his death in 1917.

In January, Cowan’s Auctions hosted a sale of what is believed to be the largest privately held collection of Buffalo Bill photographs and personal effects, last owned by Patsy Garlow, Cody’s great-granddaughter. The top lot was a photo album that included 301 images of Cody and the Wild West show, which sold for $23,500. Other albums and individual images documented Cody at leisure and with various foreign dignitaries visiting the Wild West show. The sale included several personal items, such as a set of spurs owned by the Cody family, which sold for $4,700, and Buffalo Bill’s Romances, an anthology of dime novels based on Cody’s exploits and inscribed to his daughter Irma, which fetched $9,400.  —Karen Cakebread 

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