FAIRFIELD, Maine – Three of the guns that sharpshooter Annie Oakley once donated to raise money for the Spanish-American War effort sold for almost $650,000 at the Oct. 8-10 auction conducted by James D. Julia Inc. Prices include a buyer’s premium of 15 percent.
An engraved, gold-plated .38-55-caliber Marlin rifle, estimated at $150,000-$250,000, brought $253,000.
“This was a firearm used by Annie Oakley,” auctioneer James Julia said. “She was a real patriot, and she turned it in for the war effort to generate money for war bonds.”
After the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Oakley asked military officials for permission to raise a regiment of women soldiers, but her request was turned down. Oakley, who had become an entertainer with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, donated many of her specialty rifles and trophies to raise money for the war effort.
Another Marlin rifle, an engraved and gold-plated .22-caliber Model 97 lever action, presented to Oakley in 1906, realized $184,000. Included in the lot was a letter of thanks from Oakley.
A single lot that included Oakley’s Remington Model 12B pump-action rifle, a silver trophy and original photographs, hit $207,000. One photograph shows Oakley holding the rifle, and it is believed to be the only known Oakley rifle that can be identified in a photograph.
Born Phoebe Ann Mosey in 1860 in rural Darke County, Ohio, her amazing talent propelled her to become the first American female superstar. Using a .22-caliber rifle at 90 feet, Oakley could split a playing card edge-on and put five or six more holes in it before it touched the ground.
She lived in Cincinnati for a time, and it’s believed she took her stage name from the city’s neighborhood of Oakley. After her death on Nov. 3, 1926, at age 66, it was discovered that her entire fortune had been given to charity.
For more information, visit www.jamesdjulia.net.