Virgil Earp’s Tombstone badge is among the most important pieces of Western memorabilia ever offered in a public sale.
The lot is set to cross the block at Heritage Auctions on May 13, with an opening bid of $50,000.
Virgil Earp was a famous Old West lawman
Virgil Earp was appointed chief of police for Tombstone in 1880, the year before the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral.
The shootout is one of the most storied events in the history of the Old West and has been endlessly played out in movies, books and TV shows.
It pitted Virgil, his brothers Wyatt and Morgan, and gunslinger Doc Holliday against a group of four cowboys who had been threatening them for several months.
The shooting lasted just 30 seconds. It left three of the cowboys dead and Virgil with a bullet in his leg.
Virgil would have been wearing this badge during the gunfight.
It’s constructed from silver and is clearly handmade.
One side is engraved “Constable” while the other reads “Chief of Police”.
Virgil had the badge reversed when he moved to Colton
Virgil had it reversed and re-engraved when he was appointed constable of Colton in 1886, indicating it had a lot of sentimental value to him.
Heritage comments: “This badge has been off the market for 26 years, and its offering may well constitute a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to acquire one of the greatest surviving relics of the Old West!”
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