A pistol that once belonged to legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy will be auctioned on Sept. 30 and is expected to fetch upwards of $250,000.
Maile Pingel, a spokeswoman for RMK Services, a public relations firm representing the gun's current owner, told The Huffington Post that the .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army model revolver belongs to a private collector in Illinois.
The historic pistol was purchased by Cassidy in 1896 from a hardware store in Vernal, Utah.
Cassidy, born Robert LeRoy Parker in 1866, was the notorious leader of the Wild Bunch Gang in the early 1900s. For the better part of 20 years, Cassidy and his motley band held up banks and trains across the West and in South America, netting the equivalent of millions of dollars in today's currency.
Hunted by the law and tired of running, Cassidy surrendered his Colt revolver and a Winchester rifle to Sheriff Parley P. Christison, of Juab County, Utah in October of 1899. The move was as an act of good faith while he pleaded with the governor for amnesty. The governor was willing, but only if there were no warrants for murder -- which Cassidy insisted there weren't. But news from neighboring states differed and the law began to close in on him again, most notably the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Cassidy supposedly fled to New York and caught a steamer to Argentina with Harry Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Some believe Cassidy and Longabaugh were killed in 1908 during a shootout in southern Bolivia. Others suspect Cassidy lived under a pseudonym into the late 1930s. To date, his ultimate fate remains a mystery.
BUTCH CASSIDY PHOTOS: (Story Continues Below)
Since Cassidy's death, several things related to his life have made their way into auction houses:
- In 1998, a cabinet card photograph purported to depict Cassidy and the Sundance Kid sold for $2,200 at a memorabilia auction.
- In 2000, a 1900 photograph of the Wild Bunch sold at auction for $85,000.
- In April, the entire town of Buford, Wyo., where Cassidy robbed a store in the 1880s, sold for $900,000.
According to Pingel, Cassidy's Colt .45, known as the "Amnesty Colt," is expected to fetch around $250,000. It's a hefty sum compared to the $108,447 an anonymous bidder recently paid for a handgun once owned by notorious gangster Al Capone.
Along with the handgun, the winning bidder will receive the black leather holster that was surrendered with the gun, along with a signed tag that was placed on it by Sheriff Christison.
An added bonus –- something that the auction company believes makes the gun "extraordinarily special" -- is a series of inscribed numbers hidden within the revolver's right grip. They're thought to be the code to Cassidy's safe, which has yet to be discovered but is believed to be inside a bank in Denver, Colo.
"They believe that's tied to a bank vault because he used to pat the gun and say 'this is the key to my retirement,'" Pingel said.
The auction, Story of the Wild West, will be held at California Auctioneers in Ventura, Calif., at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30. Additional information can be found on the auction website.