FIELD TELESCOPE INSCRIBED TO JESSE JAMES WITH PROVENANCE.
This 5-stage telescope measures 3′ and less than one foot when contracted, still retaining hide leather cover and loop. Boldly inscribed as can be seen in photos “J. JAMES”. This wonderful relic was bought in 1917 by Christ Bjerkhol. He purchased it from a farmer residing near Northfield, Minnesota. The farmer told Bjerkhol that he found the optical instrument years before while plowing a field near his home. Everyone knows of the September 7, 1876 James-Younger Gang raid on the 1st National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota where only Frank and Jesse James survived capture or death. Could this be the telescope that Jesse James used to scout the town prior to the robbery and lost in his frantic escape? This object is shown in a full-page October 13, 1940 Deluth News-Tribune article on the eccentric collection of Mr. Bjerkhol showing off his numerous objects and the prize of his collection, “JESSE JAMES TELESCOPE”. A framed copy of this newspaper article accompanies the lot. NOTE: A two page appraisal done in 1987 accompanies lot. The appraisal corroborates that the scope was the type in use in the third quarter of the 19th century and that the engraved inscription is also in the style of script used in the third quarter of the 19th century. According to the appraiser Frederick Dose “script showing surface wear over the chasing itself ,this item appears the best of my knowledge and based upon conscientious examination of all the evidence at hand and with due research, to be a genuine article of the period stated and without evidence to the contrary to have belonged to Jesse Woodson James.” CONDITION: Good to very good overall. Brass has mottled mustard patina. Complete and intact with exception of front sliding cover. Optics are cloudy. Leather loop on 5″ cover intact up un-sewn on top. 52838-1 (10,000-20,000) – Lot 2168
Auction: Fine Art, Asian & Antiques - Winter 2018
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