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Wilbur Zink’s FRANK JAMES COLLECTION Goes Up for Auction

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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.

Photos of Cole Younger

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.

Henry Washington Younger and spouse

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

artifacts from the Wilbur Zink collection

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

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Tuesday October 19th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

☞Today in Old-West History — On today’s date 119 years ago, Sunday, October 19, 1902, notorious Old-West outlaw & fiddle player James Hardin “Uncle Jim” Younger (1848-1902) met his earthly demise at the age of 54 when he committed suicide by gunshot whilst on parole at Saint Paul, Minnesota.

☞Requiéscant In Pace, Jim Younger.

☞Jim Younger was one of the central figures of a band of the most desperate outlaws the Old West ever knew — the infamous James-Younger Gang, which was formed by Jim’s brother Cole Younger along with Frank & Jesse James.

☞Jim Younger joined the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (1861-1865) & served with Quantrill’s Raiders. In 1864, he was captured by Union troops & was imprisoned until the end of the War.

☞After the War, Younger worked on various ranches until he joined the James-Younger Gang in 1873. When his brother John was killed at Roscoe, Missouri in 1874, Jim left the gang & went out west where he worked on a ranch in San Luis Obispo, California.

☞In 1876, Jim returned to the gang, & on September 7 he participated in a bank robbery that became known as the Great Northfield Minnesota Raid. During that robbery he was shot & captured. The James brothers escaped, but Cole, Jim, & Bob Younger were shot up by a posse, arrested, & sentenced to long terms in the state penitentiary at Stillwater, Minnesota, where they were afforded celebrity status.

☞Jim Younger’s fiddle was one of the few possessions that he was allowed to have with him in prison, & he played it often. As time passed, Jim noticed that a little bird would appear most every day in the window of his jail cell. It seemed as though the bird came to listen whenever Jim played his fiddle. Jim was lonely & he befriended the bird which he named “Swipsy.” The bird would fly into the prison cell & Jim would always try to have crumbs to feed Swipsy. One day, a fellow prisoner killed the little bird just for spite. Jim then painted a picture of Swipsy on the back of his violin to remember his little feathered friend.

☞In 1898, the prison warden allowed the prisoners to throw a Christmas party at his own home, with Cole Younger portraying Santa Claus & Jim Younger playing his fiddle.

☞Paroled in 1901, Jim became engaged to his long-time lover Alix Mueller; however, because of the terms of his parole he couldn’t marry her.

☞On October 19, 1902, after a failed attempt to sell tombstones & then insurance, Jim Younger locked himself in his room, wrote a suicide note to Alix, picked up his revolver, & blew his brains out.

☞In 2013, Jim Younger’s fiddle, which was played by him at the famous 1898 Christmas party at Stillwater Prison, was sold at a Dallas, Texas auction for over $11,000.

☞The left-hand photograph depicts the image of Swipsy the Bird that Jim Younger painted on the back of his fiddle. The right-hand photograph depicts an undated studio portrait of Jim Younger.
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Tuesday October 5th, 2021
Stray Leaves Daily

For Drury Woodson James, founder of Paso Robles, CA., and all his descendants, PASO ROBLES FOUNDERS’ DAY 2021. See MoreSee Less