Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Kate "Big Nose Kate" Holliday: A Very Rare and Important 1881 Check Made Out to and Endorsed by Her, and Possibly by "Doc" Holliday Himself. It is unclear whether Kate and Doc were actually married when they cohabited in Tombstone, but the check gives evidence that she at least represented herself as his wife. This September 21, 1881 check was drawn on the Tombstone Pima County Bank and is endorsed on verso by Kate Holliday. Her signature matches perfectly the one registered in the Pima County Bank Book sold by Heritage in our June 14 Legends of the West auction, and these two are believed the only two known "Kate Holliday" signatures.

    Since Kate had an account at the bank and this draft is signed by a bank officer, it seems apparent that its purpose was to withdraw money from that account in cash. "J.H. Holliday" has endorsed below her signature, which would suggest that the draft was intended to allow Holliday to receive the money (he does not seem to have had an account in his own name).

    Holliday's signature is in what certainly appears to be vintage ink, and in most respects it closely resembles the style of other documented Holliday signatures. However, it does differ slightly, notably in the style of the "y." So the question is: Do we have an original Doc Holliday signature or a forgery added to increase the collectible's value? We incline toward the former conclusion, our reasoning being that:

    1. People's signatures do vary, and in most respects this one conforms to the expected style,
    2. It seems unlikely that a forger would risk defacing what was already a very valuable piece in its own right, being signed by Kate, and
    3. A forger familiar enough with Holliday's signature to get most points of comparison right, and skilled enough to give a signature a convincing period look, would be highly unlikely to err in such an obvious was as to change the "y." What would be the point?

    But despite these considerations, we are unable-because of the variance-to warrant this to be Doc Holliday's signature. Obviously the value and importance of the check increases exponentially if one accepts the second signature, but our starting bid reflects our estimation of value purely as a rare Kate Holliday check.

    The check measures 8" x 3.25", and is in excellent condition, with one old partial tape reinforcement on verso which does not detract. There is not bleed-through discoloration on the face of the check.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2016
    3rd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,019

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $200,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Dec 3, 2016 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 43 days left to consign to the 2022 January 8 Featuring The Michael Ward Collection of Western Americana & Political Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search