The finest known surviving example of Samuel Colt’s first revolver – the Cased and Shell Carved Ivory-gripped Texas or Holster Model Paterson Revolver with 9-inch Barrel and Attached Loading Lever – produced by the legendary gunsmith in Paterson, N.J. in 1836, is expected to realize $700,000+ when it comes to auction as part of The Cali Collection, offered in Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions’ Sept. 18 Signature® Arms & Armor Auction.

“In terms of desirability and historical importance, this one has it all,” said Greg Martin, President of Arms & Armor Auctions at Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions. “Maybe 3,000 of these were made, with very few survivors, and certainly none that even begins to approach the condition of this one.”

When this revolver was sold by the Far West Hobby Shop in 1938, for the then-exorbitant price of $1,650, this is what they had to say about this storied gun: “Every factor that contributes to the valuation of an antique firearm is outstandingly apparent in this magnificent Texas-Paterson – Age, Historical Interest, Beauty, Condition, Pride of Possession, Great Demand, Extreme Rarity, Etc. In our opinion, this is the most desirable Colt outfit ever offered for sale at any time. Aside from the fact that it will be some collector’s (sic) most treasured arms possession, it will prove a gilt-edged investment for the future…”

“I’d say they got it pretty much perfect,” said Martin. “It was a gilt-edged investment then, and it’s a gilt-edged investment now.”

Also offered as part of The Cali Collection is the single finest known 1847 Colt Walker Model Civilian Series Revolver, Serial No. 1078, famously known as “The Thumbprint Walker,” because a workman’s fingerprint was imbedded on the left side of the frame during the finishing of the gun, estimated to bring $600,000+, along with spirited bidding, when it comes up for auction.

“It’s been theorized that the thumbprint on this gun is that of Samuel Colt himself,” said Martin. “Whether that’s the case or not, no one can say for sure, but this civilian revolver is one of the finest, most original and rare examples of the Walker model known and is clearly among the most desirable examples of the most celebrated single models of percussion Colt revolver ever produced.”

In 1847, Colt and Capt. Samuel Walker of the U.S. Dragoons designed what would be known as the Colt Walker Revolver. The U.S. government ordered 1,000 Colt Walker revolvers for use in the Mexican-American War and on the Texas frontier. One hundred civilian revolvers were manufactured at the same time.

Source: Heritage Auctions

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