I was born and raised in Arizona, and with that comes a passion for all things Old West, including the Gunfight at O.K. Corral. Things have changed a lot in Tombstone since I first visited its streets from the comfort of a stroller in the early ’60s, but the stories remain largely the same.
If you’d like to own a part of that history and your tax refund is somewhere in the range of a quarter million dollars, I have a deal for you. On April 17, up to 6,000 people will be bidding on a pair of guns, including Wyatt Earp’s lever-action Winchester shotgun and a Colt .45 he may have used during the West’s most famous gunfight.
There’s no lack of controversy, though. The serial number is missing on the revolver, although the Arizona Republic is reporting X-rays have revealed the numbers match one owned by Earp.
The firearms are part of author Glenn Boyer’s estate, which further clouds the issue. Some historians claim all three of Boyer’s books are more fiction than fact, despite the decades of research he’d done and volumes of documents he accumulated on the west’s most famous lawman.
But then again, even the accounts of what happened at the O.K. Corral are conflicting. We’re pretty sure the first shots rang out when both sides were about 6 feet apart and the fighting lasted for about 30 seconds. Who were the real bad guys? Was everyone armed when the fight broke out? Did the “Cowboys” have their hands up when the first shots were taken? The debate continues to rage.
One thing is certain, however. I can’t bid on something this expensive. It’s a shame, because I’ve always wanted a Colt .45 in my hand when I subject my friends at the range to a variety of quotes from the movie Tombstone.
Fortunately, there is a solution. The Uberti Old West replica seen in the photo costs only $659, comes with intact serial numbers and the last one I tested shot incredibly well. It may not be Earp’s gun, but it’s close enough until I hit the lottery. And, if my wife complains about yet another gun in the safe, I’ll work her shopping math to prove $250,000 minus $659 translates to my frugal purchase actually saving our family $249,341.