Annie Oakley's 16-Gauge Parker Brothers Hammer Shotgun, Serial #30203, used by Annie in the Wild West Show, may well bring more than $100,000 on Nov. 24 as part of Heritage Auctions
' Legends of the West Signature® Auction.
The iconic shotgun has been consigned to auction by Annie's grandniece, Bessie Lee Moses Edwards, the granddaughter of Annie's brother John. Edwards, 91, founded the Annie Oakley Foundation in 1984, which is dedicated to preserving the image and the story of Annie Oakley for more than 30 years.
Oakley's stunning and elegant charm bracelet, one of her most treasured possessions, which features charms from some of her most ardent admirers, including Buffalo Bill Cody himself, is also being offered in the auction. The bracelet descended in the family of Jack Goodwin, the great-grandson of Annie's brother, Henry Moses. It also expected to bring $100,000+. Its very existence was unknown to Oakley collectors and scholars until earlier this year, when it surfaced along with family photographs in Goodwin's estate.
"(Annie) was a very kindhearted, intelligent and talented woman who loved children, was widely known for her philanthropic work with widows and orphans and deserving young women who wanted to further their education," said Edwards. "She also taught women how to shoot and handle a firearm safely."
Heritage Auctions sold a companion piece to this gun in June of 2012 when Annie's 12 Gauge Parker Brothers Shotgun, Serial #48767, brought $143,400.
"This beautiful Parker double is a worthy complement to last year's auction," said Tom Slater, Director of Historical and Americana at Heritage. "That one also descended through Annie's family, finally belonging to Frank Butler's great-grandnieces. This one has also stayed in the family until now. This 16-gauge Parker is actually older than the 12-gauge gun by about a year, so it may well be the one Annie referred to as 'my first real gun.'"
Butler, Annie's husband, handled all the details and care of his and Annie's firearms cleaning, packing, shipping, and maintenance returned this shotgun to the Parker factory three times, evidence of its heavy use: in 1883 for cleaning and repair; in 1885 to be adjusted and restocked and to have the "new model hammers" installed and in 1897 to be once again restocked.
"The superb condition of this gun, despite the evidence of its being much used, shows that it was much loved by Annie," said Slater, "and then by the descendants who idolized their famous aunt."
These two items are part of a trove of more than 31 total lots in the auction, including some extremely rare photos some signed along with colorful Buffalo Bill's Wild West programs and other items personally owned by Annie, including several cut glass pieces which, according to family legend, were given to Annie by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.
Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey, was an American sharp shooter and entertainment icon and far and away the biggest female star of her day. She used rifles, shotguns and pistols as part of her exhibition and shot standing still, over her shoulder using mirrors and standing on a moving horse. Her talent and timely rise to fame led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West show for most of 17 years. They traveled widely in the United States and Europe in that period, entertaining huge audiences in the late 1800s and early 1900s.