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Lot
44017

Jesse James Gun Belt, from the Collection of Harry Hoffman....

2013 June 22 - 23 Legends of the Wild West Signature Auction - Dallas #6101

 
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Auction Ended On: Jun 22, 2013
Item Activity: 3 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
Jesse James Gun Belt, from the Collection of Harry Hoffman. This well-used gun belt was another of Wilbur Zink's most prized possessions. It is accompanied by Hoffman's notarized affidavit given to Frank Foster when he sold his collection.

The belt was listed by Hoffman twice. First it appears on a handwritten list of items in his collection, sent to Foster when he proposed selling him the collection: "One pistol belt used by Jesse James. " On the more formal typed inventory it is listed as item 16, "Cartridge belt used by Jesse James - one of the two he had when killed." In his individual affidavit for the belt (pictured) Hoffman repeats the assertion that this was "one of the two he had when killed."

There is every reason to take Hoffman at his word: he was a lifelong associate of the James family and close friend of Jesse James, Jr. His lifetime collection consisted of just thirty-one items, and the integrity of the collection is apparent upon reading the list. The Hoffman collection was sold in the late 1970s to Ed Owens of Springfield, Missouri. In a notarized 1983 bill of sale, Owens conveyed thirteen items from that collection to Wilbur Zink.

When the marketplace sets a value on a relic which belonged to a legendary figure like Jesse James, a key element is the extent to which that object is closely, personally associated. Another key element would be the extent to which it relates to the activity which made the individual famous. In the case of an outlaw like Jesse James, it is hard to imagine a relic that meets those standards better than his well-used gun belt.

Authentic items of any type which were owned and used by Jesse James are rare and highly prized by collectors.

For more information about the Harry Hoffman collection provenance, please click here.

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