A collection of items that belonged Annie Oakley, including her Stetson hat, guns, letters and photographs, are going up for auction that one expert says hits the mark for its breadth and sentimental value.
Heritage Auctions on Sunday will offer up about 100 Oakley-related items in Dallas, including a 12-gauge Parker Brothers shotgun expected to fetch about $100,000. Two Marlin .22-caliber rifles are expected to sell for more than $20,000 each, The Associated Press reports.
Oakley gained fame in the 1880s and 1890s for her shooting skills as a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. She died in 1926 at the age of 66, but has remained a pop culture icon.
“The country kind of took her to heart,” said Tom Slater, Heritage’s director of Americana auctions.
Over the decades, her likeness has appeared on everything from dolls to lunchboxes and her life story inspired a Hollywood movie and Broadway’s “Annie Get Your Gun.”
“She was just sparkling as a public performer,” said Paul Fees, former senior curator at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo., with whom Heritage consulted on the auction. “This petite person handling firearms was startling. She was a natural at it. She made it look easy.”
The items are being offered up by Oakley’s great-grandnieces — sisters Tommye Tait and Terrye Holcomb of California — who inherited the items from their mother.
Holcomb said that she had grown up with many of the items, such as Oakley’s famous Stetson with a ribbon trim — expected to sell for more than $4,000 — which was a favorite for school plays and Halloween costumes.
The photos in the auction include several of Oakley hunting with her dog, Dave, and more formal shots of her posing with a gun. A promotional mini-postcard that Oakley sent to brother-in-law William Butler has the words “Compliments of Annie Oakley” on the front with an adjacent heart that’s been pierced with a bullet.