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1847 Colt Walker .44 Fetches $920K at Auction

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October 08, 2008
1847 Colt Walker .44 Fetches $920K at Auction - 4

A pristine, corrosion-free Colt Walker .44 black powder revolver (ca. 1847) sold at auction in Fairfield, Maine to an unknown bidder yesterday for $800,000 (plus a 17 percent auction commission).

The sale reflected the most ever fetched for the model, of which fewer than 170 are believed to exist. It was also the highest price ever paid for any type of Colt firearm.

The black powder cartridge pistol was sold with the original powder flask, issued at Vera Cruz to Private Sam Wilson in 1847.

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The gun’s owner, Montanan John McBride, 80, said he decided to sell it at auction because his family had no interest in historic firearms and wanted to use the proceeds to purchase property. The gun previously belonged to McBride’s great-great uncle.

“It was a painful decision,” McBride told the Kennebec (ME) Journal newspaper. “The family would rather have land than pistols. I can understand that. I don’t necessarily agree with it.”

A spokesman for the auction company’s firearms division said the price commanded for the pristine Colt was all about condition. There was not a spot of rust or oxidation on the massive, 9-inch barrel--or anywhere else on the gun.

“This is a military gun that normally is found in relic condition,” said Wes Dillon, “What we are seeing here is a unique opportunity in the gun-collecting world.”

Known as one of the most powerful handguns in history, the original Colt Walker had an overall length of 15.5 inches and weighed approximately 4.75 pounds. It held 50-to 60-grains of black powder and shot a conical 220-grain bullet or .44 cal. roundball.

By comparison, the original .45 Colt cartridge used a 250 grain bullet and 40 grains of powder. The Walker stood alone in repeating handgun ballistics superiority until the introduction of the .357 Magnum in 1935.

Only about 1,100 Walker pistols were made during a short production run in 1847. Its namesake, Capt. Samuel Hamilton Walker, a war hero who fought in the Texas-Mexico wars, collaborated with gunmaker Samuel Colt to create a pistol suitable for the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Dragoons.

Capt. Walker wrote in 1847 that the gun was “as effective as a common rifle at 100 yards and superior to a musket even at 200.”

Besides the fact that relatively few of the pistols were manufactured in the first place, a contributing factor in the scarcity (and value) of the Walker Colt today is that many of the guns were damaged by mis-loading. When it was introduced, few men had ever seen a revolver--much less shot one--resulting in burst cylinders and the accidental firing of all six chambers at once.

Comments (4)

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from Tony Dickens wrote 18 weeks 2 days ago

Oil baron, Frank Phillips (Phillips 66 gas stations) is buried on the grounds of Woolaroc in Bartlesville OK. Part of his personal gun collection is displayed in the basement of the museum on the grounds. I recall seeing 2-3 original Walkers there on display. His collection isn't just having a pristine example - but usually below serial number 10, if not serial number 1 or 2 of each variant, and some prototypes. You can't do this museum in an hour...

BTW - if you ever find a boxed COLT reproduction Colt walker, don't ever pull the hammer back. If the cylinder is scored from rotation (the key drags on the cylinder) the value is cut by more than half. An unturned repro COLT one is worth several thousand.

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from Tony Martin wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

The Dagroon should be valued between $15,000 and $30,000 dollars .

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from Tony Martin wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I would be very cautious about the pristine quality of the pistol surley noone bought the firearm with the intent not to ever use it and black powder is very corrosive , todays technology metalurgy and CNC computer machines makes is very easy to produce a replica .

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from wolfz23 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I have one of these (similar) its a dragoon, 3rd gen i believe (based off sieral number)

im looking to put it in auction.. but need to find out what it is worth first... do you have any information on someone that can tell me more about it?

Thanks

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from wolfz23 wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I have one of these (similar) its a dragoon, 3rd gen i believe (based off sieral number)

im looking to put it in auction.. but need to find out what it is worth first... do you have any information on someone that can tell me more about it?

Thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony Martin wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I would be very cautious about the pristine quality of the pistol surley noone bought the firearm with the intent not to ever use it and black powder is very corrosive , todays technology metalurgy and CNC computer machines makes is very easy to produce a replica .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony Martin wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

The Dagroon should be valued between $15,000 and $30,000 dollars .

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony Dickens wrote 18 weeks 2 days ago

Oil baron, Frank Phillips (Phillips 66 gas stations) is buried on the grounds of Woolaroc in Bartlesville OK. Part of his personal gun collection is displayed in the basement of the museum on the grounds. I recall seeing 2-3 original Walkers there on display. His collection isn't just having a pristine example - but usually below serial number 10, if not serial number 1 or 2 of each variant, and some prototypes. You can't do this museum in an hour...

BTW - if you ever find a boxed COLT reproduction Colt walker, don't ever pull the hammer back. If the cylinder is scored from rotation (the key drags on the cylinder) the value is cut by more than half. An unturned repro COLT one is worth several thousand.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)