To combat the debt crisis, Pennsylvania is turning to the Wild West–in the form of a massive memorabilia auction, according to Reuters.
Nearly 8,000 authentic American Old West artifacts, including pistols, muskets, and various law enforcement items from the late 1800s, will be sold to the highest bidders in the near future in Harrisburg.
The town hopes to rake in as much as $15 million dollars for the whole lot.
The items, which range from small pieces of ammo to a large stagecoach, were mostly collected by former Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed for a planned Wild West museum. The museum idea fizzled when the economy tanked, which left the Wild West items largely ignored in storage facilities for a long time. The memorabilia was initially bought with tax-payer money.
Robert Philbin, a spokesperson for the town, says that a number of appraisers and auction houses have expressed interest in the products.
“The collectors saw real value, particularly the guns and wagons,” says Philbin.
Harrisburg hopes to rake in as much as $15 million dollars for the whole lot, and strike while there seems to be a resurging national interest in all-things-Wild West. For example, an action-packed popcorn movie, “Cowboys and Aliens” hit theaters last month. And next week, AMC will be launching a new television series, “Hell On Wheels,” about the life of a Civil War vet in the Old West. The show will showcase many of the guns and shooting techniques of the era.
In addition to firearms, “Hell On Wheels” will provide an authentic portrayal of the travel experiences for people living out West during the late 1800s.