Sale of Annie Oakley's gun aims at pounds 25,000

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A GUN owned by the legendary Annie Oakley, whose sharpshooting thrilled 19th-century audiences at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, is to be sold at Christie's in March. The price being targeted is pounds 25,000, writes Dalya Alberge.

Victoria Code of Christie's demonstrated the gun in a corridor at the auctioneer's London offices.

Annie Oakley, riding round the ring on a cantering horse, could shoot glass balls tossed into the air by her husband cantering on another horse. She also shot a cigarette from the lips of the German Crown Prince who later became Kaiser Wilhelm II. On one occasion, she took 30 steps from her husband and shot a playing card held between his thumb and forefinger.

In 1887, after one of the Wild West Show's appearances in England, Queen Victoria met Oakley and told her: 'You are a very, very clever little girl.'

Oakley is shown shooting quail in New England in 1908.

The gun, a smooth bore Winchester - a rarity in its own right - was specially built for Oakley. She needed it to fire tiny particles of shot or 'dust shot cartridges' rather than a single bullet.

The gun also had a strip of leather wound around the lever used to cock it, to minimise bruising when Oakley fired.