Wanted: Dead or Alive - signed Jesse James photo could be a steal at $30,000



2015-06-26 12:18:13

Wanted: Dead or Alive - signed Jesse James photo could be a steal at $30,000

The feared leader of a gang of bank robbers and outlaws will ride into Chicago next month

The notorious outlaw Jesse James has been an American obsession for over a century. Most of his life, however, remains a mystery.

What is more, he left few artifacts behind to help fill in the gaps, which has in return intensified the demand for all James-related historical memorabilia, especially photographs and signed documents.

On April 5th Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will sell the only known signed photograph of Jesse Woodson James. The albumen print portrait, showing a bust of James as a young man with his hair slicked back and dressed in a suit and tie, is the most iconic image of the outlaw.

James' signature is exceedingly rare, with only one other signed item selling at auction, and the present signed photograph is expected to greatly exceed its $20,000-30,000 presale estimate. The provenance of the photograph is excellent and this makes it a strong investment.

It was obtained by Andrew MacKellar, Captain of the Cunard Line of the RMS Queen Mary from 1954 to 1959, from Calvin Tilden Owns, husband of Ethel Rose James (the granddaughter of Jesse James), who confirmed the authenticity of the signed photograph, which was bequeathed to her by Jesse James' widow, Zee, as part of an inheritance.

The photograph has been in private hands since it was purchased from Captain MacKellar in 1958. The signed photograph will be a featured in the Americana session of the Fine Books and Manuscripts Auction in Chicago and online.

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