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Piece of Arizona's Wild West history auctioned off

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A Colt .45-caliber revolver believed to have been carried by Wyatt Earp during the shootout at the O.K. Corral sold at an auction Thursday night.

The gun, possibly used in the Tombstone gunfight on Oct. 26, 1881, was on the block at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale.

Auctioneer Josh Levine said the Colt .45 and three other guns and 32 boxes of research documents, photos and memorabilia up for bid came from the estate of author Glenn Boyer, who died in Tucson last year.

Boyer spent years researching and writing about Western history. He is best known for "I Married Wyatt Earp: The Recollections of Josephine Sarah Marcus," a fictionalized account (filled with facts) of Earp's life told through the perspective of his wife, Josephine.

"This is by far the most interest I've ever seen in a weapon of this kind," Levine said. "I have bids in from 49 countries. The amount of traffic we've received crashed our website twice."

This auction item, however, comes with controversy, Levine said.

"The gun is controversial because its serial number was scratched off years ago. But testing through dental X-rays revealed that the original serial number matched records proving again the Earp serial number present."

The highest bidder for the Colt .45 will receive a sworn affidavit signed by Boyer, stating the gun belonged to Earp as well as the expert findings. The gun's barrel, cylinder and grips have been replaced, the frame of the gun, which is most important when determining value, remains intact.

Thursday night, several sources said that the firearm sold for $225,000.

Other items in the auction included Wyatt Earp's Winchester shotgun with an estimated value between $75,000 and $125,000 and Virgil Earp's Colt revolver, estimated in value between $20,000 and $30,000.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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