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    W. B. "Bat" Masterson: A Highly Important 1879 Autograph Document as Sheriff of Ford County, Kansas (Dodge City). Ford County had issued a subpoena for one W. P. Niese to appear as a witness, and Masterson signed off as having received the writ and duly executed it on June 26, 1879. An entire panel is written in his bold hand in black ink, with a wonderful large signature "WB Masterson / Sheriff". The 8" x 10.25" document is in beautiful condition with very nice display presence.

    Bat Masterson is one of the most famous and colorful figures in Old West lore: gunfighter, lawman, gambler, prize-fight promoter, and exhibition marksman, he eventually found his niche as a sportswriter for various publications, ending up writing in New York City for the Morning Telegraph. He died at his desk of a heart attack in 1921, and was buried not in his old Kansas stomping ground, but in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

    In later life Masterson loved to write and talk about his early days in the West. He is famous for a ploy that must have given him great satisfaction: he sold his famous six-gun, "the gun that tamed the West", because he "needed the money." The truth is that he bought old guns in pawnshops, carved notches into the grips, and sold them to credulous dudes for inflated prices as guns he had used in his career as a lawman!

    Given the nature of his long life and mastery of the written word, it is surprising how rare his signature is today. Particularly desirable is his signature from his legendary Dodge City days. With some twenty words in his hand, this is a very special example indeed.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
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