A fight to the finish as Jesse James signed photo sells for $51,240

The only known signed photograph of US outlaw Jesse James made $51,240 at auction earlier this week, far surpassing its high-end estimate of $30,000.

The photo was bought by an anonymous investor at a Leslie Hindman Auctioneers sale in Chicago.

James is shown as a young man with his hair slicked back and dressed in a suit and tie in the albumen print portrait.


A nice young man

Born in Missouri in 1847, James was a Confederate guerrilla during the American civil war and turned his hand to all manner of nefarious activities in the following years, including train robbery and bank raids.

The rarity of James's signature combined with the photograph's excellent provenance helped the piece achieve its strong showing. It had once been owned by Calvin Tilden Owns, the husband of Ethel Rose James, Jesse James's granddaughter.

James was killed in 1882 by Robert Ford, a member of his gang, for a $10,000 reward.

 

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