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Annie Oakley shotgun fetches $143K at auction

A shotgun that once belonged to Western sharpshooter Annie Oakley sold for more than $143,000 US an auction in Dallas on Sunday.
A detail of Annie Oakley's Parker Brothers 12-gauge shotgun, which was auctioned in Texas on Sunday. (Associated Press)

A shotgun that once belonged to Western sharpshooter and entertainer Annie Oakley sold for more than $143,000 US at an auction on Sunday.   

The trove of about 100 of the icon's items headlining the "Legends of the Wild West" event at Heritage Auctions brought in nearly $520,000, according to the auction house. The items included several guns, including the Parker Brothers shotgun, her Stetson hat, photographs and letters.

Legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley thrilled crowds with her tricks as an entertainer with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. (Associated Press)
Oakley's great-grandnieces had inherited the items from their mother, Billie Butler Serene, who died in 2009 at the age of 95.  

Serene was raised by her grandparents, and her grandfather, William Butler, was the brother of Oakley's husband, Frank Butler, a marksman who became Oakley's manager. Oakley and Frank Butler frequently visited and Oakley taught Serene how to handle a gun. 

Terrye Holcomb, one of the nieces, said the auction's success left her with a positive feeling overall, but "there's a little bit of melancholy and sadness that goes with it."   

The items had been passed down through generations, and Holcomb remembers shooting the guns for target practice on Sunday mornings in California's Santa Monica Mountains and wearing Oakley's Stetson hat — which sold for $17,925 — on Halloween.

Holcomb said she grew up hearing stories about Oakley without fully realizing her impact. "I've not ceased being amazed by her enduring legacy," she said.   

"Annie Oakley was arguably America's first female superstar, touring the U.S. and the world in the late 1800s and early 20th century and demonstrating her legendary Wild West sharpshooting skills," Tom Slater, director of historical auctions for Heritage, said Sunday.   

Oakley, who became famous while travelling in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, died in 1926 at the age of 66.