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Daniel Buck
Bogus Cassidy and Sundance Bolivian collection returns to au
Fri Mar 2, 2018 1:03am

Posted on the Wild West History Association Facebook page Thursday, 1 March 2018:

Daniel Buck

Bogus Cassidy and Sundance Bolivian collection returns to auction.

Details here, James Peterson Company,Ö

You have to scroll through the offerings to find the items that pertain to the supposed Bolivia collection: Colt revolver (serial no. 85745), eye glasses, mule saddle, leather trunk, cigarette lighter, & payroll bag (actually, a feed bag).

This collection is bogus. Five of the six items are not even named among the outlaws' personal possessions inventoried after their deaths in Bolivia in 1908, or by their victim as stolen from him. A Colt revolver is on the inventory, but with no stated serial number. The auction Colt no. 85745 could have belonged to anyone, Joe Schmo or Peter Pan.

More importantly, the documentation about the items is bogus. Multiple documents referencing the army captain who led the patrol that cornered Cassidy and Sundance as Captain Justo D. Concha or Justo Donato Concha. The actual captain was Justo P. Concha or Justo Pastor Concha. A document dated 1908 is on stationary printed in 1925. Another refers to Concha as being with the Regimiento Abaroa. That was an error introduced into the literature in the early 1990s, meaning the 1908 document was written in the 1990s or later. Concha, it was only recently established, was with the Guarnicion Uyuni (Uyuni Garrison), a different unit.

Two modern letters, which appeared as if by magic in 2016, supposedly from the Archivo Central in Bolivia authenticating the earlier documents have been described by the archives as a "burda estafa," a clumsy fraud. In his 2018 auction, Peterson does not mention these two letters.

The collection first surfaced in the United States in 2004, when it was turned down by California auction house, and appeared again in 2008 in a James D. Julia catalog, but with a later proviso alerting bidders to questions about the genuineness of the documents and the lot. The lot did not sell.

In 2016, pieces of the collection were put up for auction by James Peterson. I emailed him twice about problems with the collection, including questions about the authenticity of the documents. He did not respond.

Peterson's assertions and item descriptions on the website for his 4 March 2018 auction are all over the map. He asserts in large print that, "My career has spanned 50 years & 1000ís of auctions. I can honestly state that in all these years these pieces of American Old West History have the most documentation Iíve ever had with anything in all the 50 years!" But in small print he says, "AS with All Auctions All Items are sold ďAs-IsĒ! No Warrantees [sic] Or Guarantees are Given Or Implied!!"

His descriptions of the Cassidy and Sundance items ping-pong from the cautionary, "whether [Sundance] did or did not [acquire the Colt] and whether the Concha documentation is authentic is up to the purchaser to determine mindful of the fact that facts about the two outlaws are almost non-existent," to the vague, "these spectacles have better and more extensive documentation tha [sic] usual"

Previous references to the bogus Cassidy and Sundance Bolivia collection include Meghan Saar, "History, Not for Sale: Suspicious B&S Lot Put Back On The Auction Block," True West, November/December 2008, and Daniel Buck, letter to the editor, WWHA Journal, June 2017.

    • Receiving blogs Pat, Fri Mar 2 7:54pm
      from Jim Williams from his Old West photos and More page. How is he doing that on my FB page when I have it locked down and can only get from close friends? Plus why is he sending me this junk? I... more
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