Butch Cassidy's gun draws $175,000 in California auction

LOS ANGELES Mon Oct 1, 2012 6:13pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gun the Wild West outlaw Butch Cassidy wielded in the late 19th century and later tried to exchange for amnesty has drawn a $175,000 bid at a California auction house, the owner of the company said on Monday.

The Colt revolver was turned over to a sheriff in Utah in 1899 as part of Cassidy's failed attempt to obtain amnesty from the state's governor, said John Eubanks of California Auctioneers & Appraisers.

"He tried to become a regular citizen by turning over his guns," Eubanks said.

The $175,000 bid for the Colt came over the weekend from a buyer who wants to remain anonymous, Eubanks said.

In a separate auction in New Hampshire Sunday, two pistols found on the bodies of famed Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sold for a combined $504,000. They were bought by a Texas collector who also wished to remain anonymous.

Cassidy and his partner Harry Longabaugh, who went by the nickname "Sundance Kid," robbed banks and had an outlaw gang called the Wild Bunch.

Their exploits were featured in the 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Cassidy has long been thought to have been killed in a shootout in Bolivia, but his fate remains mysterious as members of his family and former associates have said he returned to the United States and lived under a false identity, according to a Web page about the outlaw on a Utah government website.

The sale of Cassidy's gun was part of an auction of Wild West items that California Auctioneers held on Saturday and Sunday in Casitas Springs, 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

A beaded jacket that belonged to the American Indian leader Crazy Horse sold for $10,000 in the auction, to a couple from upstate New York, Eubanks said.

Other pieces of memorabilia from the Wild West have fetched even higher prices. Last year, the only authenticated photograph of gunslinger Billy the Kid was auctioned off to the billionaire William Koch for $2.3 million.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Greg McCune and Todd Eastham)

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