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Piece of Arizona’s Wild West history auctioned off

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.