A large collection of weapons that was owned by a professor at Texas A&M University, including the weapon that killed Billy the Kid, has recently sold for more than $ 12 million.
Jim and Theresa Earle’s collection contained items the couple had purchased over a 50-year period. Jim Earle ’54 was a longtime engineering professor at Texas A&M. He retired in 1995 and was named Legend of Aggieland in 2000. He died in 2019.
The jewel in the collection’s crown was a pistol used by Sheriff Pat Garrett to kill Billy the Kid. According to auction house Bonhams, it is estimated to be worth between $ 2-3 million, but sold for more than $ 6 million.
Some of the items sold include:
- The weapon that was used to kill Billy the Kid, was bought for $ 6,030,000
- The shotgun used by Billy the Kid to kill Deputy Bob Olinger during a getaway to New Mexico, bought for more than $ 978,000
- A revolver used by John Selman to shoot the outlaw John Wesley Hardin at the Acme Hall in El Paso, bought for more than $ 858,000
- John Wesley Hardin’s weapon used in the previous shooting was purchased for more than $ 625.00
- Wild Bill Hickok’s Springfield rifle, purchased for more than $ 475,000
- A revolver owned by Bat Masterson, purchased for more than $ 375,000
“To be honest, it doesn’t surprise me so much,” said Susan Palmer, one of Earle’s daughters. “My sister and I were told all our lives about the value that this collection would have one day. We have always known that the weapon that killed Billy the Kid would be much sought after by collectors.
Her parents would be “quite satisfied,” she said.
“It took more than 50 years to collect these items,” Palmer said. “I personally know some of the people who bought and bought these weapons, so it’s good to know that they are in good hands that they will value them as our parents did. And I have to say that the people at the Bonhams auctions did a great job of organizing the whole collection ”.
Earle, a lover of Western history, was an authority on Billy the Kid and other figures, and assembled a collection of articles from the period.
As a Texas A&M student, he drew a cartoon that was published in the student newspaper The Battalion of 1955-85. Earle produced about 5,000 of the strips, which falsified life in the cadet corps. He called Cadet Slouch, the comic was based on the real experiences of Earle, who was in the corps and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Air Force in 1955.