July 22, 2013 / 1:30 AM / 7 years ago

Struggling Pennsylvania capital auctions Wild West artifacts

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Thousands of artifacts from the Wild West era were sold off during a week-long public auction by authorities in Pennsylvania’s financially distressed state capital, ending on Sunday with nearly $4 million in sales.

A dentist chair used by famed gambler, gunfighter and dentist John Henry “Doc” Holliday and a foot locker built for sharpshooter Annie Oakley were among the items sold by Harrisburg’s government at the auction, which was handled by Guernsey’s of New York City.

The items were amassed by former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed using millions of dollars of public funds to stock a proposed Wild West museum that never opened to the public.

“There were skeptics who didn’t believe they’d get that much,” Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey’s, said of the more than $3.9 million raised through the auction.

“It’s not going to save the city, but it’s a good amount and hopefully it’s enough to settle some debt,” Ettinger said.

City officials have not announced any specific plans for the money.

Harrisburg is burdened with more than $300 million in debt, much of which stems from a failed incinerator project.

Editing by Tom Brown and Paul Simao

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