Frank James wrote to his wife Annie, “Burn these letters.” Now Frank’s letters are going to auction.
I learned about Frank’s letters from Wilbur Zink personally. They were my partial impetus for writing Vol. IV of Jesse James Soul Liberty, Frank James in Atonement & Retirement. On June 22, 2013, Frank’s letters will beat my book about Frank to market by three years, as Wilbur Zink’s collection of letters, photos, artifacts, and memorabilia related to Frank James, his family, and the James-Younger Gang, go on the auction block.
Often I’ve been put in the position of challenging auction houses and their exaggerated or outright misrepresentations. At an auction of a gun, advertised to have belonged to Jesse James, I feared my life was in danger as Jesse’s great-grandson, Judge James R. Ross, marched up to the podium, snatched the microphone from the auctioneer, and read the Judge’s statement of Denial of Authenticity. Jim was shouted down, booed, and threatened. I didn’t know if we’d get out alive, especially since we now had to sit in the front row until the auction ended, to see if the auctioneer would re-introduce the item he withdrew.
This auction is far different.
We know the artifacts are bone-fide.
We know their provenance is genuine.
And we’re working with a reputable auction house that has engaged the support of the James family, and myself in particular. Other authentic authorities also have been consulted.
While today’s economic climate remains troubled, and the expected institutional bidder may, or may not, appear due to budget constraints, these artifacts may go for bargain prices. They are certainly realistically priced enough to start the bidding.
For anyone wishing to own a piece of the history of Frank & Jesse James, this opportunity may prove the most affordable bargains of all…then again, the James family always have been known for confounding expectations.
LINK to Heritage Auction & entire collection
ABOUT Wilbur Zink
CLICK photos for larger images