Lot 2002: Cole Young and Frank James Collection of (10) Nichols Amusement Co. Postcards
24th June 2017
Extremely rare set of ten vintage postcard photos relating to the short-lived Cole Younger & Nichols Amusement Company from circa 1906–1908, each measuring 5.25 x 3.5, and depicting various performers, banners, stages, rides and exhibitions, with four featuring Frank James, and all but one postcard bearing handwritten notations inherent to the original photo, “Cole Younger & Nichols Amusement Co.,” with two also identified to “Nocona [Texas].” Images include: Cole Younger and Frank James standing in front of the Electric Theatre; James standing to the far left of a group of seven performers from the Roman Coliseum show; two men posing below a massive banner promoting the “Baby Davis Wild Animal Show”; James standing to the far right of a line of nine “Dancing Beauties”; James posing with a large group of African American performers that comprise the “Nichols Rag Time Opera and Old Plantation” minstrel show; the backs of a large crowd watching a high-wire stunt in Nocona, Texas; a man and woman posing below a large banner promoting “The Big Snake Show”; a small real estate building with a “Cole Younger and Nichols Theatre Amusement Co.” poster on back fence; a man and woman posing below a large banner promoting a “Deep Sea Monster”; and a group of several men and children standing below a Ferris wheel in Nocona, Texas, with the aforesaid real estate building visible in the background. In overall fine condition, with some bearing pin holes. With Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill attracting huge crowds across the country with their traveling wild west shows, former outlaw partners Frank James and Cole Younger, reacquainted after nearly three decades apart, teamed up to create The Great Cole Younger and Frank James Historical Wild West Show, which, due to numerous issues, folded after eight months of operation in November 1903. Two years later, Younger forms a partnership with Lew Nichols, creates The Cole Younger & Nichols Amusement Company, and invites his old wild west sidekick in James to temporarily join the traveling show. The abundance of pictures featuring James and not Younger, may be due to the terms of Younger's pardon, which forbade him 'to exhibit himself in public in any way.' A phenomenal assemblage of period photographs that vividly portray the colorful post-criminal life of legendary outlaws turned traveling showmen.
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