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National Museum of Old West loses promised artifacts

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent for the remnants of a Pennsylvania mayor's dashed and derided dream - a National Museum of the Old West, except that it was proposed for the eastern U.S.

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed had spent millions of public dollars for the items for the proposed museum, and City Council members were not told anything about it.

Under a council order, some items were auctioned in Dallas over the weekend. An 1883 Gatling gun went for $280,000 (192,057 EUR), a Wells Fargo & Co. stagecoach for $90,000 (61,732 EUR) and a Conestoga wagon for $35,000 (24,007 EUR), among other artifacts.

It is unknown how far the sale will go toward paying off Harrisburg's debt, the reason for the auction.

Eric Papenfuse - a board member and treasurer at the Harrisburg Authority, the infrastructure agency whose funds Reed used to buy the artifacts - said the city may have lost money on the sale. "We're getting 50 cents on the dollar for some of these items," he said.

Another two-day auction is scheduled in the spring, and some items will be sold on eBay.

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