In collectibles, antiques and art news, an Alamo sword and the personal effects of a notorious outlaw hit the auction block, a bank returns valuable rare bills to its customer, a stolen Renaissance masterpiece is sold and a distinctive Babe Ruth home-run ball goes up for sale for the first time.
Wild West Antiques and Militaria
A 19th-century saber linked to the historic Battle of the Alamo and the subsequent Battle of San Jacinto was a star at the Frontier Times Western Auction in San Antonio, Texas, last week. The Battle of the Alamo was a pivotal low point in Texas history during what was called the Texas Revolution when Mexican troops defeated a cavalry of American soldiers. Ben Templeton, who traces his own family roots to pioneer times, found the sword on his property in Garfield, Texas, an area, according to the blog History Hunters International , was the campsite of the Mexican army.
Collectibles belonging to gunman John Wesley Hardin also went under the hammer at the Western Auction. The outlaw’s artifacts included his briefcase containing his business card, a copy of his autobiography, a hand-tinted photograph of him, “a stage coach trunk covered in cowhide with his initials,” the shotgun that ended his life and an 1895 arrest warrant signed by the lawman who did him in.
Other items of interest in the sale included a Confederate Civil War rifle, a collection of gunfighter paintings, a Bowie knife collection, a rare Colt .45, a Dalton Gang rifle and a gun rig that belonged to a Roosevelt Rough Rider.
Something Was Wrong, Bank Gives Back Money
CoinLink had a feel-good collectibles story recently. Two $1,000 bills attracted the attention of a bank CEO after a customer brought in the rare 1934 Federal Reserve notes to make a deposit. No one in the Indiana bank had ever seen $1,000 bills—little wonder since the U.S. government ceased making them in 1969—but they were accepted for deposit, and the customer went on her way. After the notes came to the attention of the CEO, American Savings Bank called its elderly customer back in to retrieve the rare bills and suggested she sell them for a higher value as collectibles. The woman said a relative had given her the notes many years before.
16th-century Stolen Artwork at Auction
Flemish Renaissance artist Ambrosius Benson painted religious works in Spain, including a celebrated altarpiece in Segovia and works that hang in Madrid’s Prado Museum, London’s National Gallery and New York’s Metropolitan Museum. So it is no wonder that the Spanish Ministry of Culture hoped to prevent London Sotheby’s recent sale of the triptych, “Lamentation of Christ,” to an unknown buyer, as it is the last known Benson work in private hands. According to Typically Spanish , the piece was stolen in 1913 and sold several times since. ArtDaily reports that because of the previous sales, both Sotheby’s and the Spanish Ministry of Culture announced the auction was legal. The triptych went for more than $2.3 million.
Babe Ruth Six-Figure Ball
On May 25, 1935, Babe Ruth hit the last homers of his career—three of them—in the same game. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the first of those home-run balls was caught by baseball fan Emmett Cavanaugh during the first inning of the game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh where the Pittsburgh Pirates played Ruth’s Boston Braves. Cavanaugh caught up with the Babe at his hotel after the game and asked him to sign the ball. The fan held on to his lucky catch for the rest of his life. His family put the ball, along with documentation for provenance from Hunt Auctions, up for grabs at the All-Star FanFest collectibles auction held in New York on July 15. It was expected to sell for upward of $200,000.