Morphy Auctions announces collaboration with Brian Lebel's Old West Events
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Morphy Auctions announces collaboration with Brian Lebel's Old West Events
Melissa McCracken and Brian Lebel at their former home in Santa Fe.

DENVER, PA.- Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, announced today that Brian Lebel’s Old West Events and Cody Old West Show & Auction have integrated with Morphy’s in an initiative that will benefit dealers and collectors of Western antiques and firearms in several significant ways.

Under the terms of the new arrangement, Brian Lebel and his wife and business partner, Melissa McCracken, will continue to operate their Annual Old West Show & Auction, which traditionally has been held every January in Mesa, Arizona, and in June in Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, effective January 2024, the Lebels’ January show and auction will move to Las Vegas to partner with Morphy’s Las Vegas Antique Arms show. The Santa Fe show will not be affected.

“The union of our January shows will resolve an issue that had arisen in the past in which Lebel’s January show dates in Mesa and our show dates in Las Vegas sometimes overlapped or conflicted,” said Morphy. “There’s a lot of crossover in the type of merchandise sold by Brian’s dealers and our Vegas firearms dealers. Bringing them together under one roof – in a 60,000-square-foot ballroom space at the Westgate Resort and Casino – is a perfect fit. Now dealers won’t ever have to choose between Mesa and Las Vegas, and they’ll have the potential benefit of attracting customers they might not have known before. Likewise, collectors are going to enjoy being able to shop one big, top-quality show that brings together the very best dealers from two closely aligned categories, antique firearms and genuine Old West art and relics.”

Morphy added that while Brian and Melissa will continue to manage Old West Events as they always have, their operation will benefit from having full access to Morphy’s extensive marketing, advertising and promotional assets and staff. “It’s a win-win all around,” he said.

Brian Lebel is one of the most respected figures in the Western collecting field. Originally from Massachusetts, he has always had an affinity for the outdoors and horses, and grew up thinking of cowboys as romantic figures. In his early 20s, he quit his job and impulsively moved to Cody, Wyoming, a place he had visited and loved because, in his words, “It exuded the cowboy culture.”

After settling in Cody, Lebel worked as a cowboy and guide at Valley Ranch, a Western resort where guests could stay in rustic cabins, go on trail rides and soak up the area’s breathtaking scenery. It was also where Lebel was first exposed to Western art and artifacts.

“The owner of Valley Ranch was a collector and displayed his things around the office. Being exposed to art and antiques of the Old West, I fell in love with it. In the mid-1980s, I decided to open a gallery in Cody,” Lebel said. “To stock it, I would drive from coast to coast, attend antique shows and buy anything for my gallery that was Western related or looked Western, as long as it was authentic. Back then, people with knowledge were willing to share information and teach you. That’s how I learned how to identify what was real and what was not.”

In 1989, Lebel, who by then was fully immersed in the world of Western and cowboy art and relics, launched his annual Cody Old West Show & Auction. In 2014, he purchased the High Noon Show & Auction in Mesa and created Old West Events to serve as the parent company for his growing list of ventures. Over time, Lebel’s core business of buying and selling Western antiques expanded to incorporate consulting services to assist collectors, dealers and museums. The suite of services includes providing appraisals and letters of opinion, handling museum deaccessions, undertaking interior design projects, and consulting on film and television productions. In all aspects of his multifaceted organization, Lebel strives for excellence and integrity, principles that are reflected in his company’s tagline: “Reputation matters.”

Brian Lebel and Dan Morphy first crossed paths around 1997, when Morphy opened Adamstown Antique Gallery in Denver, Pa., the current site of Morphy Auctions. Brian became one of the gallery’s first dealers and continued to sell from a showcase there for many years.

“The first time I walked into Dan’s antique mall, I was very impressed by the quality of the merchandise and his roster of dealers. I remember thinking to myself, ‘There’s someone else out there who holds himself to a higher standard in the business.’ Over the years I learned that he and I felt the same way about a lot of things. We don’t align ourselves with just anybody. Melissa and I like the way he runs his business and himself.”

Dan Morphy said there is “huge value” in being able to partner with a prestigious show-and-auction event in the western states. “People who aren’t close enough to our Pennsylvania gallery to visit personally will now be able to meet our team and see how we operate. We will also have exposure to the many respected dealers and loyal customers who’ve made Brian’s shows such a success over the years. No one can top Brian and Melissa at what they do, and I feel most fortunate that they are joining the Morphy Auctions team.”

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