Page 34 - Auction84-Book2
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LOT 1029
Documented Historic Legendary Marksman Frank Butler, Husband of Annie Oakley, Antique Engraved Thomas Bland & Sons Winchester Model 1895 Lever Action Shotgun Formerly of the John Fox Collection - Serial no. 15438, 410 gauge, 22 inch solid rib bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. Offered
here is a highly unusual Winchester Model 1895 Rifle that was converted to a 410 shotgun and owned by the legendary American marksman Frank Butler. According to the included Thomas Bland & Sons letter, “The gun
was imported into England where it was finished in .303 British and subsequently converted to a 410 shotgun. The action and related hardware were best finished and scroll engraved...The gun was completed and delivered on 22
February 1898 and delivered to Mr. [Frank] Butler.” The February 2012 dated T. Bland & Sons letter is addressed to noted western frontier collector John Fox, the then owner of the shotgun. Frank Butler is one of the iconic Wild West performers
that enthralled audiences in the late 19th century and early 20th century with his shooting prowess. He was also the husband of fellow American sharpshooter star Annie Oakley. While touring the country with his shooting act, Butler met his future wife
in Cincinnati, Ohio. Butler accepted a challenge to shoot against any local sharpshooter. A match pitted Butler against a 15 year old Annie Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Mosey). Butler lost the match when he missed his 25th shot. The two sharpshooters began a courtship and soon married. In 1882, after Oakley stood in for Butler’s sick partner, the couple created their own shooting act simply known as Butler
and Oakley. In 1885, they signed on to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show where they captivated audiences for the next 16 years. Oakley became the star attraction, earning more money and international fame than most of the Buffalo Bill performers, and Butler handled the business end of the venture. Outside the partnership, Butler worked as a UMC representative and Remington Arms Co. salesman. Oakley continued to perform after leaving Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. She retired from show business in 1913. In November 1926 the couple died 18 days apart.

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