ANNIE OAKLEY – 1 TROY OUNCE – 39MM
Born August 13, 1860, Phoebe Ann Moses, to Jacob and Susan (Wise) Moses, Quakers who had migrated from Pennsylvania to Darke County, Ohio, where they rented a farm. She was the sixth of seven children and called “Annie” by all of her sisters. Her father died of pneumonia in 1866, and her mother, unable to support her children, sent Annie to live at the Darke County Infirmary, the county poorhouse when Annie was only nine years old.
When she was ten years old, she agreed to become a servant for a local farming family. She lived in near slavery conditions for the next two years before running away back to the Infirmary. Shortly after, she returned home to find that her mother had re-married and had another child, but the new husband had died, leaving the family to fend for themselves again.
Annie first shot a gun before she was sent away, and upon the return to her family, she ended up supporting her family by hunting and trapping. It was said that she could shoot a quail in the head leaving the rest of the bird completely free of any buckshot. She sold game to the local restaurants and hotels. She later claimed to be such a successful hunter and trapper that she had paid the mortgage on the family farm.
As a young woman, Annie met Francis “Frank” Butler while he was performing his traveling marksman show in Cincinnati, Ohio. Part of the show was accepting challenges from local marksman to matches. A local hotel owner set up a competition between Annie and Frank, which took place on Thanksgiving day. Frank was shocked that his challenger was a 15-year-old girl standing only five feet tall, who won the competition after he missed his 25th shot. Soon after that, they began a courtship and married in Windsor, Canada, in 1882.
Annie took the stage name of “Annie Oakley” when she began performing with Frank in his show. The name “Oakley” is believed to have come from the “Oakley” neighborhood in Cincinnati, where Annie and Frank lived after they were wed. Annie Oakley turned out to be a bigger draw than Frank, and she became the showcase act, performing solo in the show.
In 1884, Sitting Bull, the Sioux (Lakota) spiritual leader and medicine man saw Annie in a show and was so intrigued that after the show he asked to meet her. She gave him a signed photo, and he gave her a pair of moccasins he had worn at Little Bighorn and the nickname “Wayanya Cicilla,” Little Sure Shot.
Also in 1884, Annie and Frank met “Buffalo Bill” Cody while performing in a circus in New Orleans. In early 1885, after negotiations, Frank and Annie joined “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” and went on performing with the show for 16 seasons. Her skill with many firearms endeared audiences to her at the show. At 90 feet, she could shoot a dime, the cork out of a bottle, and put candles out.
In 1887, the show traveled to London as part of the American Exhibition. They gave many performances for the royal family, and on May 11, they performed for Queen Victoria who bowed deeply when the American flag came into the arena. It was the first time a British Monarch had saluted the American Flag, and the audience and performers roared their approval.
Annie was a celebrity, and it was reported that she was the top earner in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. In 1892, when the show returned to the US, Annie and Frank bought a house in New Jersy where they lived between tours.
In 1901, after an accident on a passenger train they were traveling on, Annie decided to retire. She had been touring continuously for over 20 years, and the sharpshooter was now 41 years old.
In 1912, Annie and Frank build a house on Maryland’s eastern shore. The roofline was constructed so Annie could step out onto it and shoot game off the Choptank River.
In November of 1922, Annie was involved in a car accident in Florida where she fractured her hip and ankle. Although the brace she had to wear after that kept her from performing again, it did not keep her from shooting and hunting.
Over the next four years, her health started to decline, and on November 3, 1926, she died of pernicious anemia at the age of 66. Frank mourned so deeply, he stopped eating altogether and died 18 days later on November 21. They are buried at Brock Cemetery near Greenville, Ohio.
- Contains 1 Troy Ounce .999 Fine Silver
- Obverse: A depiction of Annie Oakley based on one of the most famous photos known. “ANNIE OAKLEY” above the portrait curved along the circumference.
- Reverse: The common reverse for the series, it includes many iconic images of the old west. Centered, a blank badge wrapped with a cowboy’s rope, a horned bull skull centered, with opposing six-shooters at 10 and 2 o’clock, and finally, two horseshoes at three o’clock, and a small badge at nine o’clock with the Intaglio mint mark. Hallmark at 6 o’clock curved on the lower circumference.