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5 Most Expensive Revolvers Auctioned at Rock Island

The 5 most expensive revolvers ever sold at Rock Island Auction Company are rare and desirable samples of American history.

5 Most Expensive Revolvers Auctioned at Rock Island

(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

Revolvers define my childhood. Watching John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Kirk Douglas save the day using ingenuity and their Colt .45s was a great way to learn morals and spend time with my grandfather. Revolvers are rugged, reliable, and beautiful. Some of the most historic and collectible revolvers ever made have fetched eye-popping sums through Rock Island Auction Company.

I spoke with the experts at Rock Island Auction about the most expensive revolvers they’ve ever sold. Below are the top 5. As I researched, I gained a new appreciation of these fine firearms and the collectors that keep them alive. I was reminded that revolvers and their stories are still just as relevant today. These collectible guns are not simply embellished pieces of steel and ivory; they are connections to our past and landmarks in firearm design and history. Not one of these sold for under $1 million.


E Company No. 120 U.S. Colt Model 1874 Walker Revolver
(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

1. E Company No. 120 U.S. Colt Model 1874 Walker Revolver

Caliber: .44 Percussion

Selling Price: $1,035,000

Description/History:

E Company No. 120 U.S. Colt Model 1874 Walker Revolver
(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

Samuel Colt opened a new chapter in firearm design and revolutionized small arms tactics with his Walker revolver. This E Company Colt, produced in 1874, is the finest issued Colt-Walker handgun to have survived. These revolvers were game changers on the western plains when mounted horsemen rode with one on each hip. This No. 120 was used by George Charles McClure during his time in the Texas Rangers, the American Civil War, and as he was hunting buffalo and guiding and guarding wagon trains. It was discovered in the possession of his descendants in rural Wyoming. The pistol has a military blue finish, a brass triggerguard, walnut grips, and the cylinder is roll engraved with an Indian versus Ranger fight scene.


2. Theodore Roosevelt Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Revolver “The Bull Moose Colt Single Action”

Cartridge: .38 COLT

Selling Price: $1,466,250

Description/History:




Theodore Roosevelt Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Revolver “The Bull Moose Colt Single Action”
(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

This innately engraved revolver was a gift for President Theodore Roosevelt. It was ordered just days before he was shot at close range by a Colt .38 while giving a speech. The bullet hit his glasses case and the stack of papers he had in his front pocket, which slowed the bullet enough to save his life. President Roosevelt stood back up and finished his speech. This Colt was carried by the president on his harrowing expedition down the River of Doubt in Brazil and on many other occasions. It was engraved on over 75 percent of its surface at the factory and then silver plated. The ivory grips have Colt medallions and a steer head engraved on the right side. It was built in October 1912.


3: G. Young Engraved Colt Millikin Dragoon Revolver

Caliber: .44 Percussion

Selling Price: $1,667,500

Recommended


Description/History:

G. Young Engraved Colt Millikin Dragoon Revolver(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

This is a presentation model Dragoon that is the best of the best. It is masterfully engraved by Gustav Young with scrolls and animal heads then beautifully blued and case hardened. The attached accessories case and powder flask add to its desirability. It was originally owned by Civil War hero Colonel P.M. Millikin, who died in hand-to-hand combat during a saber charge against the Confederates. He was cut off from his regiment, surrounded, then shot. This revolver was presented to his son, Paul Millikin, who also went on to become a colonel and served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. It’s a flawless example of Colt’s legacy, the engraver’s art, and a heroic bond between a father and son.


4: Cased Colt Civilian Walker Revolver, “The Danish Sea Captain Walker”

Caliber: .44 Percussion

Selling Price: $1,840,000

Description/History:

Cased Colt Civilian Walker Revolver, “The Danish Sea Captain Walker”(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

This is the only known cased civilian Walker. It includes a handwritten bill of sale from Samuel Colt himself. It’s a rare version of Colt’s first successful revolver. The Walker revolver was designed in conjunction with Samuel Walker of the famed Texas Rangers. It was built in 1847 and is one of a run of only 100 guns that were sold to civilians. It was bought by a Danish sea captain, Niles Hansen, when he visited New York, and then hauled back to Europe where it was passed down in the family. At one point, it was buried in the garden to hide it from the Nazis during World War II. It is the most written about, talked about, and best example of all Colt Walkers. It’s been described as the “Mona Lisa” of 19th-century Colts.


5: Ulysses S. Grant’s Cased Remington New Model Army Revolvers

Caliber: .44 Percussion

Selling Price: $5,170,000

Description/History:

Ulysses S. Grant’s Cased Remington New Model Army Revolvers(Photos courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company)

These revolvers are the holy grail of Civil War collectors. They were given to President Grant in celebration of his accomplishments on the battlefield during the Civil War and as a thank you by two cotton magnates. The Remington New Army was a common sidearm in the Civil War, and a standard model cost around $12. These guns cost $400 a piece new and remained in Grant’s family for over 100 years. They were eventually given as payment to a handyman that worked on the Grant house, then sold in 1976 to a gun collector for $1,500. The guns have immaculate engraving on the metal with scrolls, dots, and a Colombian shield. The ivory grips have a raised motif of Grant’s bust on one side and a patriotic emblem on the other. The metal finish is in immaculate condition, and the ivory grips have aged to a mellow patina.

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