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    Description

    Jesse & Frank James: A Family Heirloom Amethyst Stick Pin Worn by Both. Among the relics most treasured by Wilbur Zink is this Victorian stick pin. It is accompanied by an August 13, 1915 letter from "James Farm" by Mrs. Frank James to Mr. Charles Polk of Kansas City, conveying ownership to him:

    "Kind Sir,

    "Under separate parcel am sending you the pin worn by Mr. James when he was stricken with the last illness on Feb. 18th, 1915. Know it will be appreciated as you were one of his best friends.

    "Respectfully, Mrs. Frank James"

    James and Polk must have indeed been close because it was Charles Polk, who with Jesse James, Jr., escorted Frank's body by train from Kearny, Missouri, to St. Louis where it was cremated. The Kansas City Star account of Frank's funeral described an intimate assemblage of only about two dozen close associates and family, among whom Polk is listed.

    In 1955, in another letter, Charles Polk's widow, Ethel Polk, conveys the stick pin and Anna James' letter to a Mr. Ismert of Kansas City. In it she fleshes out the story of the stick pin: "My deceased husband Charles M. Polk was promised this pin by Frank James, who wore it during his life. He often told him that his brother Jessie [sic] wore this pin and had it on when he was killed." Wilbur Zink often stated that the stick pin had originally belonged to the boys' mother Zerelda, however, there is no written documentation of that assertion.

    The stick pin does not appear on an inventory of items taken from Jesse James' body after he was killed. However, this is easily explained: James was killed in his own home and this inventory was compiled hours later. It is only logical that his wife would have removed such a family heirloom before his body was taken away, and Frank James would have been the likely recipient.

    The pin is accompanied by a superb 1898 Frank James cabinet photo in near mint condition. The photo shows a stick pin in his cravat, but under high magnification the pin cannot be made out clearly enough to be identified. The photo itself is, of course, a valuable Western outlaw image.

    We also note a well-known image of Jesse where he is wearing a similar stick pin in his bow tie. Again, it cannot be confirmed that it is the present example, but it does help confirm that both brothers did wear stick pins.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,200

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