Valuable Vaqueros

Mexican vaquero collectibles stood out at High Noon’s Western Americana auction.

Mexican vaquero collectibles stood out at High Noon’s Western Americana auction.

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On June 19, 1867, the day after Joseph McCoy purchased 250 acres of land in what would become the cowtown of Abilene, Kansas, the last emperor of Mexico was executed by a firing squad.

Shortly after the execution of Maximilian I by the forces of Benito Juárez, the Julius Skilton family acquired the emperor’s Imperial saddle that he had rode on during 1864-67. The family consigned the saddle to High Noon in Mesa, Arizona, where it stole the show, hammering in as the top lot at $200,000.

Born an Austrian archduke, Ferdinand Maximilian had been sent to rule Mexico in 1864 by Napoleon III. The French emperor was the nephew of Napoleon I, who, 49 years earlier, on the same June 18th day McCoy made his start in Abilene, would be ruinously defeated in the Battle...

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