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    William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody: "Key to the City" of Manchester, England. An alloy key, 5.25" x 1.75", fitted in lined black leather case. Engraved on the recto: "Presented/ to/ Buffalo Bill/ Cody/ 1887" and on the verso: "From the/ City of/ Manchester/ England".

    From April to October, 1887, Buffalo Bill's Wild West wowed London. Buffalo Bill and his troupe entertained celebrities, movers and shakers, and the crowned heads of Europe. Twice they performed before Queen Victoria herself. The Queen paid Buffalo Bill, and the United States, the ultimate compliment when she stood and bowed at his presentation of the Stars and Stripes, the first time ever that a British monarch had acknowledged the American flag. Without question, the Wild West was the star of the American Exhibition at Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and The Hon. William F. Cody was the lion of London's social season. The American press reported it all, and the patriotic response at home ensured the remarkable fame and lasting success of Buffalo Bill and his Wild West.

    But the conquest of England was not yet complete. With their profits from the London season, Cody and Salsbury headed north for a five-month run. In anticipation of the harsh winter ahead, they did something unprecedented. They ordered construction near the Manchester racetrack of a huge indoor arena which could accommodate more than 10,000 spectators. Adjacent buildings housed the cast and crew in their tents and tepees (see Heritage Lot Number 38417, December 2012, Auction #6092) and all of the livestock. The complexity of preparation prevented announcement of the grand opening until the last moment. But anticipation was so high that when the day finally arrived, on December 17, the Mayor of Manchester and thousands of dignitaries and invited guests showed up to be swept away by a special matinee performance - and to honor Cody with a special presentation. Because of the short notice, the Key to the City necessarily showed the date simply as "1887." It was only the first of several signal honors before the Wild West returned home in triumph. As Manchester's press reported, "Buffalo Bill has come, we have seen, and he has conquered."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2014
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,127

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