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Beautiful Jim Key Lot-Wonder Horse
Item #: NEW-0012053

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It has taken me many years to assemble this lot relating to this amazing horse and his trainer.  A modern book by M E Rivas and Mim Eicller Rivas has introduced people to this unbelievable story and has made items about them almost impossible to obtain. Paypal will not be accepted on this item through payment plans can be arranged.

Beautiful Jim Key was presented at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. 

The lost consists of seven items, 1. A rare pamphlet, The Story of Beautiful Jim Key, How he was Taught, published in 1901.  32 pages, filled with illustrations.  Some wear to the pamphlet, which binding has been reinforced by someone with duct tape. 2.  A celluloid button featuring Jim Key, "I Have Seen Beautiful Jim Key."  The button measures one and quarter inches.  Small cut through the celluloid and other minor scratches.  There also scattered gray spots. 3. Undivided postcard the "Wonderful Jim Key, the educated horse using his National Cash Register."  Not mailed.  Minor tip wear, 4. 1908 cancel showing "The Most Wonderful Educated Horse in the World, Beautiful Jim Key. Tip wear and the rarest of the postcards, 5.  Undivided, unused card showing Key acting as Postmaster.  Some stains in the border, and 6. Unused, undivided back card with Jim writing his name.  minor wear.  7.  The last scan shows the complete sheet music, published in 1901 by Sig. Giorgio Minoliti, in Atlantic City N J.  The sheet measures 14 by 10 and a quarter inches.  Some stains, particularly on the right edge.           

William Key was born a slave and "owned" by a Shelbyville planter named William Key, from whom he took his name.  He quickly showed that he had special skills with all kinds of animals.  Williams was quite loyal to the sons of his "master" who joined the Confederate Army..  He was so afraid that they would be killed or go hungry so he decided to go with them.  When Fort Donelson came under fire he set up his own fort outside the fort dug a hole in the ground and covered it with logs where he hid until the Fort was surrendered.  He found an unguarded entrance to the fort and led his young masters to safely behind rebel lines.  After the Battle of Stones River, he attempted to help a slave friend to escape through Union lines and was caught by a guard and was sentenced to hang.  He was to be executed but the execution was postponed when it was discovered that he was a good cook and poker player.  Key purchased his freedom in exchange for the soldiers gambling debts.  Captured and sentenced to hang on another occasion, Key purchased a delay of execution with $1,000 he had sewn between the soles of his shoes.  After gaining his freedom he returned to his homestead which was in ruins, mortgaged and his namesake dead. Remarkably with poker winnings and the sales of  a horse liniment, he would make enough money to pay off the mortgage and send the young masters off to college. He then began a career of traveling with animals which he trained to fake ailments and who then would be cured with his compound.  It was on these travels that he paid $40 for a battered Arabian bay left by a circus that had closed.  The horse was nursed to health and eventually bred giving birth to "Jim Key"  His intelligence caused his trainer to launch a seven year training period in which Jim Key learned to add and subtract numbers up to 25 and spell the names of audience members. He could distinguish between coins, make change, and play a hand organ.  Featured at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition he was highly sought by other venues. His last performance was in 1906 when the two retired in Shelbyville.  William Key and Jim Key are buried in separate grave sites in Shelbyville where they are visited by horse lovers from all over the country.

Shipping Weight: 3 lbs
Price: $1,000.00 USD
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Catalog Updated
9/24/2018 10:06:00 AM
Doctor's Medicine Chest-Original Contents-Colonial Period


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