Million Dollar Gun

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posted on September 21, 2011
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An ivory-gripped Texas, or Holster Model No. 5 Paterson Colt Revolver, recognized by collectors and firearms experts as being among finest examples of Samuel Colt's first revolver made in 1836, sold at auction Sept. 18 for $977,500, the most a single firearm has ever fetched.

The price includes a 15-percent buyer's premium. The West Coast purchaser was identified only as a "Silicon Valley mogul."

The firearm was part of the prestigious Al Cali Collection, which includes more than two dozen Colts manufactured during the percussion era from 1836 to 1865. The Paterson—produced at the Colt manufacturing facility located in Paterson, NJ—was favored by the early Texas Rangers and served as the foundation of Sam Colt's rise as America's preeminent gun maker.

Other Al Cali Colts auctioned on Sept. 18 included a Model 1861 New Model Navy and an ivory-gripped Colt Third Model Dragoon revolver, which brought $805,000 each, and a "Thumbprint Walker," that sold for $690,000.

Doing the math, the four pistols from the Al Cali Collection garnered a cool $3.277 million.

Greg Martin, President of Arms & Armor at Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions, said the 1836 revolver with a 9-inch barrel and attached loading lever was nothing less than the finest known surviving example of the firearm.

"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," Martin said. "The nearly seven figure final price realized proves just how great a piece this is, and well worthy of being the world-record holder."

Prior to the Dallas auction, the record price paid for a firearm—another Colt—was $862,500 for a Colt Single Action "Peacemaker" Army Revolver Serial No. 1. at a Las Vegas auction in 2009. In October 2008, a pristine, corrosion-free Colt Walker .44 blackpowder revolver (ca. 1847) sold at auction in Fairfield, ME, to an unknown bidder for $800,000.

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