Gun used to kill Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid sells for $6m

Gun used to kill Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid sells for $6m
Colt single-action revolved was fired by Pat Garrett in one of the Wild West’s most famous killings

The gun used to kill notorious Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid has been sold for a record-breaking $6.03mn (£4.4mn), according to American auction company Bonhams.

Pre-sale estimates for the Colt single-action revolver that Sheriff Pat Garrett used to take the gunslinger down were around $2-3mn. Bonhams said the pistol, which was “in very good condition” with “well worn grips,” was sold to an anonymous buyer after a “lively bidding” on the phone, online and in the room.

The .44 calibre gun was the highlight at the Friday auction that also included other Old West firearms, manuscripts and memorabilia owned by Texas-based collectors and Wild West experts, professors Jim and Theresa Earle.

Billy the Kid was wanted for the murder of eight men before he was convicted and sentenced to death in April 1881.

However, the 21-year-old fugitive escaped and was on the run for three months before Garrett tracked him to a ranch in New Mexico and killed him.

The gun reportedly belonged to one of Billy the Kid’s gang members before Garrett seized it. According to Bonhams senior specialist Catherine Williamson, the weapon had been “in the hands of the lawman and outlaw” at different times.

She said: “Pat Garrett’s gun…attracted attention from all around the world and led to a world auction record for a firearm.”

The previous record was set by Christie’s in 2002 when the auction house sold a pair of flintlock saddle pistols carried by George Washington during the Revolutionary War for $1.98mn.

The gun Billy the Kid used to kill a sheriff’s deputy while breaking out of jail was also part of the lot that went under the hammer in Los Angeles. The Whitney double-barrel shotgun sold for $980,000, almost three to four times higher than the expected sale price.

The Earles’ entire collection, which the couple began amassing in 1973, sold for a total of $9mn.


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