GREENVILLE - A private buyer from Moscow, Ohio, bid on the Annie Oakley check and letter five seconds before the eBay auction closed Sunday, according to museum officials.
Eileen Litchfield, president of the Annie Oakley Center Foundation and a Garst Museum board member, explained that the foundation supports the Annie Oakley Center at the Garst Museum to ensure the accurate memory of Annie Oakley continues. An original Annie Oakley check and letter was donated to sell as part of the Garst Gala by Bonnie Perry of Greenville, great, great grand-niece of Annie Oakley.
“It was the first time that we did the eBay auction and the check was a donation to the Annie Oakley Center Foundation,” Litchfield said.
Brenda Arnette, Garst Museum Office Manager, agreed and said the eBay auction was exciting.
“It was exciting to watch the last minutes of bidding on eBay late Sunday night. It wasn’t until the last five seconds that the buyer placed the winning bid. Proceeds from the sale of the check package benefit the Annie Oakley Center Foundation and the Garst Museum. It sold for the minimum bid of $2,500 and reported 261 views of the online auction.
There are alot of things on eBay that collectors would like to sell to the museum, but it doesn’t have the funds to purchase. The Annie Oakley check was part of the family’s collection and the museum doesn’t sell artifacts.
The auctioned item is framed with a copy of the letters and is still at the museum until payment is received. The proceeds are being split between the Annie Oakley Center Foundation and The Garst Museum.
Arnette added that folks often confuse the two foundations connected to Annie Oakley. Another is called the Annie Oakley Foundation, rather than the Annie Oakley Center Foundation for the Garst Museum.
“Many visitors to our museum are surprised that she was so small and how modest she was,” she said of Annie Oakley. Also, from the movie, book or musical, “Annie Get Your Gun”, Annie’s, Frank’s, Sitting Bull’s and Buffalo Bill’s names, and that they met at a shooting match are accurate, but the rest is fiction.
The museum holds the world’s largest collection of Annie Oakley artifacts, Arnette said. The letter was written by Annie Butler — Oakley’s married name — to Annie’s niece Fern Campbell. It explains why the check was written, that Oakley expected a lilac dress but got a salmon-pink one, thanked Campbell for sewing it and paid for it. The dates on the check correspond to the letter, which have never left the family’s possession, according to the museum.
Litchfield said the check auction was part of the Gala Fundraiser held June 14.
“The gala went very well,” Arnette added, calling it the museum’s major fundraiser of the year attended by 150 people.
“I was very pleased how the gala went,” agreed Litchfield. “It was a good turn out and lots of great items, nothing was from the museum.”
She said donated items were new or handcrafted. For example one was from Ohio Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, for football tickets. She described another as an antique doll bed believed to be a Charles Bear carving connected to Bear’s Mill.