Lady Legend Annie Oakley's Gun Is Worth Way More Than $143K

annie oakleyFar too many kids these days "don't know much about history," but I sure as heck hope they know who Annie Oakley was. Having been called "America's first female superstar," the sharpshooter and exhibition shooter made a lasting impression on not just America but Europe. She performed for Queen Victoria, King Umberto I of Italy, Marie Francois Sadi Carnot (the President of France), and other crowned heads of state, and even "knocked the ashes off a cigarette held by newly crowned German Kaiser Wilhelm II." In other words, the woman was a stunning entertainer and complete badass.

But yesterday, one of her shotguns -- a Parker Brothers 12-gauge -- fetched just about $143,000 at Heritage Auctions' "Legends of the Wild West" event. A trove of 100 of Oakley's items were up for auction, and in total, the event brought in $520K, which is definitely nothing to scoff at. But I have to wonder why there aren't at least one or two more zeroes attached to those numbers ... ?

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These are major historical artifacts we're talking about! Guns actually used and owned by Annie Oakley herself over a hundred years ago! The buyer who paid $143K for the shotgun was reportedly a private collector of Oakley and Buffalo Bill items and had purchased a number of the auction pieces. Sounds like he might end up keeping them to himself, which would definitely be a shame, because that's an item that should be preserved behind glass in a major museum in Manhattan or Chicago or traveling the country in a popular exhibit.

In other words, Annie Oakley's history lives on in these items, and being that she was such an iconic performer and arguably an integral part of Wild West history, I'm not quite sure why her possessions aren't worth more money. Honestly, it makes me wonder if there's still some sexism haunting her legend to this day. (Guess we'd have to see what Buffalo Bill's shotguns would fetch to compare?)

Ah well. The good news is that what the letters and photographs in the auction fetched exceeded what was anticipated by about 50 percent, and one man even flew in from Odessa to bid! So no matter what the price tags say, Annie's impact obviously lives on.

Would you guess that Annie's shotgun would have been worth more than what it went for?


Image via Heritage Auctions

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