Old West Memorabilia, ca. 1880

Value (2013) | $20,200 Auction$30,200 Auction
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GUEST:
My aunt was a diving horse rider. A diving horse act was where a young lady would ride a horse off a 40-foot platform into a ten-foot deep tank of water.

APPRAISER:
And part of that act was started by Doc Carver.

GUEST:
Doc Carver invented the act when he went and fell through a bridge in the Platte River in Nebraska and came up without harm, neither to him nor the horse.

APPRAISER:
But his first act was being a dentist, which is how he got the name "Doc."

GUEST:
Absolutely.

APPRAISER:
So how did your aunt come by this material?

GUEST:
She was married to Al Carver, who was Doc Carver's adopted son.

APPRAISER:
We have this wonderful pin here, and it was awarded to Doc Carver in 1880 when he was 35 years old. He went to do a European tour as a sharpshooter and he so impressed the Prince of Wales that he got this wonderful gold and diamond medal. It's said that he shot 153 balls, glass shooting balls, in only 11 minutes, and that was a record at the time. And certainly in, as you said, shameless self-promotion, he's put it on his stationery from the 1890s.

GUEST:
Oh, absolutely.

APPRAISER:
You have some other pieces of Wild West memorabilia, and I love this large-format photograph by D.F. Barry with the Lakota Indian Rain-in-the-Face. He is most known for being the person who supposedly slayed Custer. And this wonderful large-format photograph has a dedication on the bottom that reads, "From the photographer D.F. Barry to Doc Carver." And that certainly adds a lot to the value of a piece like this. Lastly, you have sort of the gang of three: Wild Bill Hickok, Texas Jack, Buffalo Bill Cody. They together were in a show in 1873, which is about the time this was done. They are the rock stars of their time.

GUEST:
Absolutely, they were.

APPRAISER:
You have so much memorabilia. It was so hard to pick out what, really, to talk about. I think the pin that he got from the Prince of Wales, very hard to give a value, but if I was to put this at auction, I would put a value of between $10,000 and $15,000 on it, and it could well bring double that amount because it's a unique piece with marvelous provenance. The Barry photograph with the dedication, normally a photograph like this sells for about $800, but in this particular case, being part of this collection, I would put a value of $2,000 to $3,000 on it.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
My favorite piece, though, is the photograph here. It's got condition problems, as we can see. It's cut down, it has some foxing, but it is a rare and important card. And this whole area of legends of the West has just really excelled in the secondary market over the past five years. So the estimate on something like this at auction would be $8,000 to $12,000, even in this condition. And I think it could even exceed that.

GUEST:
That's very nice.

APPRAISER:
Even the piece of stationery is collectible. They sell for about $200.

GUEST:
Well, how nice.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
New York, New York
Appraised value (2013)
$20,200 Auction$30,200 Auction
Event
Richmond, VA (August 17, 2013)
Period
19th Century
Material
Metal, Paper

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