Cash-Strapped City Gets $2.7M From Old West Auction

Guns, documents and artifacts from the Old West did enough to help a modern-day city pay off some of its debt.

The auction of thousands of Old West artifacts purchased by a former Harrisburg mayor for a failed museum project netted about $2.7 million for the city as it tries to recoup the money spent on the collection.

The Patriot-News reports the auction ended Sunday with around $3.2 million in proceeds. The city will keep about $2.7 million, enough to pay off the $2.5 million remaining on a $7.2 million loan.

The sale means the total recouped by the city for the 10,000-piece collection is about $4.4 million out of about $8.3 million paid.

Former Mayor Stephen Reed bought the artifacts to fill three unrealized museums, with the first focused on the Old West. The museum idea died and the saddles, guns, gambling devices and other Western memorabilia have been kept in storage for the better part of a decade.

Auctioneer Guernsey's organized the collection by type with items classified as mercantile, advertising, vintage clothing and the like. The auction house made a $480,000 commission.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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