Butch Cassidy’s Amnesty Colt emerges for auction

California Auctioneers to offer Butch Cassidy’s Amnesty Colt .45 and
other historic Wild West relics on Sept. 29-30 for a two-day auction

In October 1899, Cassidy turned in his trusted Colt SAA .45 to Sheriff Parley P. Christison in good faith to appeal to the authorities for amnesty. The extraordinary firearm will be offered at auction to the highest bidder on Sept. 30 at California Auctioneers in Ventura, Calif. The Colt was featured in a number of magazines in years past, including Gun Journal, Guns, and Guns and the Gunfighters (published by Guns & Ammo) with featured articles about how Cassidy “hid his secret treasure inside the black grips of his trusty colt.”

“We’ve come to a time when we are two generations away from the folks who knew Cassidy. Fortunately, former owner E. Dixon Larson launched a pilgrimage from 1967-1970 documenting and interviewing people who knew Cassidy and remembered this Colt,” said auctioneer Jewels Eubanks.

One of those people was Lula Parker Betenson, Cassidy’s younger sister, who can be seen holding the Colt in her book “Butch Cassidy, My Brother.” Pages 159-160 verify the serial number 158402. A number of photographs and original letters between Larson and Betenson are offered with the Colt in addition to over a hundred pages of research and verification documents.

Included with the Colt .45 (158402) is his “Brill” Jacket holster and never before seen documents including an original letter and photo of William Darby who “rode with [Cassidy]… into the ‘hole’,” he recollects:

“Butch’s coat gun that he carried under his arm most of the time and without a question, this is it. (#158402) He was the only one that I can recall who had a nickel one. I handled it a few times… I remember the ‘eagles’ on the grips as most of the boys had wood handles, except Logan who had white ones… Reason I remember it so well, is that I always wanted one just like it. It was a 45 and most others were 44’s.”

In addition to Darby’s testimony, a never-before-seen conversation with Charles Hanks from 1969 confirms he visited with “Butch” in Vernal, Utah, after he was reported killed in Bolivia. He also claims that he visited him again in Salem, Ore., in 1924. Hanks remembers being 12 years old and seeing Cassidy with the Nickel Colt, holster and black eagle grips.

Two binders with well over 100 pages of documents are included with the original manila tag Parley P. Christison signed in Juab County, Utah, where Cassidy turned in this Colt and his Winchester. An original photograph of the Justice document filed Jan. 2, 1900, (after Cassidy did not return) also verify the Colt 158402 and his Winchester.  Correspondence with the owner of the Cassidy Winchester, Jim Earle, proved to have an exact copy of the same document.

Cassidy’s attempt for amnesty with the help of his friend Matt Warner, Sheriff P.P. Christison and his lawyer Orlando Powers to meet Gov. H.C. Wells, is well documented. Coincidentally, Warner, Christison and Governor Wells were all from Juab County, Utah.

It was perhaps Cassidy’s last attempt on American soil “to lay down his sword and shield,” and in doing so, he left behind a piece of the Wild West. He turned in his Colt SAA – 45, the jacket gun that Hanks claims could be seen poking out of his vest, under his jacket next to his heart. The action of turning it in represents his last attempt to cooperate with the authorities for a life more ordinary.

California Auctioneers will offer a number of additional historic Wild West relics at the two-day auction, including the beaded jacket of Crazy Horse, who defeated Custer on the Western Plains, and the Colt Navy Percussion of Confederate and outlaw legend Frank James. Outstanding Native American artifacts include a museum quality 23-inch Apache Olla depicting over 80 figures.

Sept. 29 will feature items such as: French & American estate furniture, baby grands, Galle’, Lalique and Tiffany, Western and Plein Air paintings, fine estate and antique jewelry, clocks, Lladro, antique dolls including Jumeau, toys, lighting, oriental rugs, fine pottery,  porcelain and glassware.

Sept. 30 will feature: Historic & antique firearms, Native American artifacts, rugs, baskets, pottery, Western art, American antique furniture, collectibles, Indian jewelry and more.

Preview in person Sept. 27-28 or bid online live during the auction. To learn more, visit www.calauctioneers.com.

 

For collectible gun values and history, check out the Standard Catalog of Military Firearms: The Collector’s Price and Reference Guide by Phillip Peterson.

 

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