Annie Oakley's specialty guns going on block

September 23, 2007

FAIRFIELD, Maine --Some of the guns sharpshooter Annie Oakley once donated to raise money for the Spanish-American War effort are going to be auctioned next month in Maine.

Firearms up for sale will include an engraved, gold-plated .38-55-caliber Marlin rifle now valued at between $150,000 and $250,000.

"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."

Items on the block also include a Sharps carbine owned by a member of Confederate Gen. Jeb Stuart's cavalry. The gun is valued at $20,000 to $40,000.

A three-day firearms and military auction is to be held at Julia's auction house in this central Maine town Oct. 8-10.

Also included are rare muzzleloading handguns and long guns, a photo album and portraits, flags, banners, bowie knives, Indian war memorabilia and what Julia describes as the "Holy Grail" for Colt firearm collectors, the Walker revolver.

The items going on sale tell the story of the celebrated markswoman's efforts to help American efforts 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.

A picture of Oakley posing with a favorite rifle is in the auction collection, as is the rifle itself. Julia said his auction, with 1,400 items, could exceed $12 million.

His auction will be part of a six-day marathon auction in conjunction with Julia's sister Jeannine and her husband Steve's business, Poulin Auction Co., next door. Poulin's auction will include antique and collectible firearms and accessories on Oct. 6 and 7. On Oct. 11, the Poulin auction will feature a large collection of Nazi weapons, uniforms and accessories.


Information from: Portland Press Herald,