Kaloma “Josie Earp” Mystery Photo in Original Frame, 1911

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We sold this item at auction for $276
 in October, 2021.

This Kaloma photograph – purported by legend to be Josie Earp, shows a beautiful young woman, scantily clad in a sensual, revealing shroud.

Marked “Kaloma” by the Pastime Novelty Co. of New York, it is presented in its original frame dating to circa 1911.

Who Was Josie Earp?

Josie “Josephine” Earp (1861-1944) was the common-law wife of Old West legend Wyatt Earp.

In 1967, a book entitled “I Married Wyatt Earp” was published by Glenn Boyer, ostensibly as Josie’s memoir of her relationship with Wyatt Earp and her life and times in early Arizona Territory. In the ensuing years, the “memoir” has been debunked as being a likely fraud with inaccurate information.

In fact, it was Earp historian Glenn Boyer who first originated the idea that the mysterious portrait was indeed a picture of Josie Earp and ended up using it on the cover of his book. This confusion has caused much discussion and debate with no clear answer, even all these years later.

True West Magazine has an interesting article proposing another potential identity of the woman in the photograph, and photography expert Jeremy Rowe also has a great piece on the subject.

If you’re interested in selling an antique photograph relating to the Old West at auction with us, check out our historic photography consignment page for more information.

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