Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Graham County, Arizona: Rufus Nephew-"Climax Jim" Archive. An archive of 22 items, mostly photographs, relating to the colorful career of Rufus Nephew, popularly known as "Climax Jim." Rufus Nephew (1876-1921) was born Rutherford Nephew, after Rutherford B. Hayes, but a clerical error led to him being baptized as Rufus. He was nicknamed "Climax Jim" after Climax Chewing Tobacco, his favorite brand. Born in the District of Columbia, Nephew ended up in the Western territories, where he soon ran into trouble with the law as a teenager. For most of his life thereafter he was constantly in trouble with the law, primarily for cattle rustling. Noted as an expert lock picker and safe cracker, Climax Jim became famous as an escape artist, reinforced by wide coverage in the press. He once claimed that he had escaped from every jail in Arizona except for the Territorial prison at Yuma. He finally gave up being an outlaw and moved to San Diego and took a job digging wells. In 1921, Climax Jim died when the scaffold on which he was working collapsed. Among the items in this fascinating collection are 1) Book by Karen Holliday Tanner and John D. Tanner, Jr., titled Climax Jim: The Tumultuous Tale of Arizona's Rustling Cowboy (Fallbrook, CA: Karen Holliday Tanner and John D. Tanner, Jr., 2005). This copy is number 35 of 50 copies privately printed, and signed by both authors. 2) A Verdict in the trial Territory of Arizona vs. John Thomas alias Climax Jim, 8 38" x 7", No. 647, with the jury finding the defendant not guilty. This document is a printed form of the District Court of the Second Judicial District of the Territory of Arizona, Graham County and is filled in (in ink) and signed by Frank M. Ringgold, foreman. According to the reverse of the form, the verdict was filed on October 4, 1899. 3) A photograph of Climax Jim, 4" x 5.5" albumen print on a 6" x 9" mount, dated circa 1903, in Nephews' Studio, Atlanta, Georgia. This is a rare photograph of Climax Jim, since he was rarely photographed with wearing his hat. 4) A cabinet card of Climax Jim, 4" x 5.5" albumen print on a 4 1/8" x 6.25" mount, dated 1898, taken at Fort Apache, showing Climax Jim dressed up as a cowboy. 5) A silver-toned photograph, 3.25" x 5.25" print on a 4.5" x 7" mount, dated circa 1903, of Climax Jim standing on a street in Clifton, Arizona. 6) A leather Climax Plug chewing tobacco pouch, 3.5" x 4." The sowing has come apart of the left, right, and bottom sides of the pouch, and the leather is worn. 7) Two calling cards, 3.25" x 2", circa 1903, of Rufus Nephew, Clifton, Arizona. The cards do not mention what business Nephew was in. 8) Business card, 3.25" x 2", n.d., of Rufus Nephew, Well Digger, El Cajon, California. By this time Climax Jim had married and had settled down. 9) Four photographs, June 9, 1903, taken by John Nephew, of the devastating flood in Clifton, Arizona. John Nephew was the brother of Climax Jim. Included with the collection is a signed statement, dated August 16, 2004, by Shirley M. Nephew, daughter-in-law of Climax Jim, acknowledging that she had sold the collection to Karen Holliday Tanner and John D. Tanner, Jr. All but two items in the collection are in good condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2016
    11th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,340

    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 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    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
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 29 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,566,976