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    "Tom Mix" is the Period Engraved Inscription on the Back Strap of this Impeccably Provenanced Smith & Wesson .32 Caliber Hand Ejector Revolver, #8541, that was in the possession of the "King of the Cowboys" upon his death in an automobile accident October 12, 1940. In addition to being listed in several publications, along with other guns known to have belonged to Mix, the gun is accompanied by a handwritten letter, dated March 1, 1957, by serial number, from Roy W. Johnson of Florence, Arizona which states, "I was a foreman for a state road crew, on Oct. 12, 1940 we were working right outside Florence when a Cord roadster approached us at a high rate of speed, he swerved (sic) ...and overturned. The driver died instantly. We removed his body from the car and saw it was Tom Mix the movie star." Johnson further states, "The next day, after the wreck was removed, I found a small S & W pistol with inscription on the backstrap that read Tom Mix serial #8541" and details the sale of the pistol to Robert Abels for $2,000.

    The story of Mix's death and funeral have become the stuff of legend. On October 12, Mix drove to Florence, Arizona to see Harry Knight, a former rodeo champion who was married to Mix's daughter. Upon departing Florence, Mix was warmed by a filling station attendant to be on the lookout for detours near Florence on Highway 98. Mix encountered the work crew with the results described in the letter. Mix's neck was broken, apparently by a metal suitcase stashed in the car which, according to Hollywood legend was stuffed to overflowing with twenty dollar gold pieces. Such Hollywood and Cowboy notables as Bret Harte, Mary Pickford, Gene Autry, and John Ford paid tribute to Mix at the funeral while Rudy Vallee crooned Mix's favorite song, "Empty Saddles." In the Arizona desert, where the crash occurred, a statue of a riderless pony on top of a rock monument was erected in Mix's honor. A really wonderful, superbly provenanced, artifact from one of the most iconic and flamboyant of the screen "cowboys."

    Condition: The gun itself retains about 25% of the original blue, the balance a pleasing smooth even dark patina. Mechanically perfect with a perfect bore.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    23rd-25th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,340

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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