Rare 1836 Colt Revolver Draws Record Price of Nearly $1 Million

An exceptional, rare and fine ivory-gripped Texas, or Holster Model…

An exceptional, rare and fine ivory-gripped Texas, or Holster Model No. 5, Paterson Revolver from the Al Cali Collection realized $977,500 as part of Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions Sept. 18 Signature® Arms & Armor Auction in Dallas, setting a world record price realized for a single Firearm sold at auction. All prices include 15 % Buyer’s premium.

It was purchased by an unidentified West Coast collector, who auction house officials will only identify as a Silicon Valley mogul.

“There are certain collectibles that transcend genre, period and form and exist simply as great works of art,” said Greg Martin, President of Arms & Armor at Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions, “and clearly this supremely beautiful firearm is such a thing. The nearly seven figure final price realized proves just how great a piece this is, and well worthy of being the world record holder.”

The auction, altogether, realized more than $8 million, with 583 bidders vying for 378 lots, translating into a 90% sell-through rate by lot value. Altogether, the top four lots of the Cali Collection brought more than $3.277 million.

The revolver, with a 9-inch barrel and attached loading lever, is the finest known surviving example of Samuel Colt’s first revolver, produced by the legendary gunsmith in Paterson, N.J. in 1836.

“This is as desirable as any piece that exists, and as desirable as any piece I’ve seen in my more than 40 years of buying and selling the very best firearms in existence,” said Martin. “Out of maybe 3,000 similar pieces made, with most likely less than 300 surviving, this is clearly among the very best , and the market realized that.”

A pair of Colt revolvers came in a tie for the auction’s second most valuable lot, both realizing jaw dropping $805,000 prices realized , and both also originating in the amazing Al Cali Collection. The first was an exceptional historic, cased, engraved and presentation inscribed Colt Model 1861 New Model Navy Revolver, From the Colt Co. to E.W. Parsons, of Adams Express Co., doubling its $400,000+ pre-auction estimate, followed by a truly beautiful historic cased Gustave Young-engraved and ivory-gripped Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver, Inscribed ‘Colonel P.M. Milliken,” which also performed well above its $500,000+ pre-auction estimate.

Another famous Colt pistol brought the admiration of gun-aficionados and the serious consideration of many high end collectors; the fine and exceptional historic Colt Walker Model Civilian Series Revolver, more commonly known as “The Thumbprint Walker,” one of only 100 made – out of the mere surviving examples, most are in poor condition – this clearly the finest known, and it soared amongst spirited bidding to complete the day – not to mention the $3.277 million top quartet – at $690,000.

“Prices like these, which show that craftsmanship, rarity, beauty and historical importance bring a true premium,” said Martin, “also show that serious buyers know that pieces like these are real investments, certain to appreciate in value as the years progress, and certainly worth serious consideration when it comes time to bid.”

All told, four pistols in the Al Cali Collection garnered $3.277 million.

Source: Heritage Auctions

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