Roosevelt Hawken Rifle Up for Auction in May

The rifle was also once owned by Kit Carson.

posted on May 6, 2024
Own a piece of history
Photo courtesy of Rock Island Auction

Rock Island Auction is holding a Premier Auction from May 17 to May 19 in Bedford, TX, and one of the items on the block is a Sam Hawken .70-percussion buffalo rifle once owned by President Theodore Roosevelt. The previous owner of the rifle was—according to family legend supported by Teddy’s notes and Boone & Crockett records—none other than Kit Carson. Pre-bid estimates put the going price at anywhere between $55,000 and $85,000. With that kind of history, it may go for much more.

The rifle is one of the few remaining .70 caliber Hawkens—the largest the legendary firm ever made. The muzzleloader has a heft to match, tipping the scales at slightly more than 19 pounds.

Much of that is due to the seven-groove, 36-inch octagonal barrel. The stock is walnut with checkering at the wrist and wears a fore end cap that is made of pewter.

The gun has U-notch sights and an adjustable peep sight. Double-set triggers complete a heavyweight package that is very different from the more common Hawkens used by trappers and frontiersmen in the early west. This one, by its heft, caliber and a peep sight rarely seen on a Hawken, was designed for taking American bison. 

The rifle was part of The Theodore Roosevelt Collection and Gun Room at Sagamore Hill and The Boone & Crockett Club Collection.  It still wears roughly 75 percent of its original brown and casehardened finish.

If you prefer shotguns, Kermit Roosevelt’s 20-gauge Parker Brothers double-barrel hammerless shotgun and silver four-piece drinking set may be more interesting. The shotgun, acquired by him while his father was in office, is expected to fetch anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000.

Firearms with solid provenance backing up a value-enhancing history dominate the headlines during Rock Island Auction events, but the company also handles bargains for investors or collectors on slightly more realistic budgets. On April 17, for example, the company is holding an Arms & Accessories Day Firearm Auction with dozens of more modern guns, some of them destined to become classics, with many expected sales prices below the $1,000 mark.


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