News|Industry News The Wild West era is one of the most romanticized time periods in U.S. History. Also, where some of the best legends and criminals from American History reign […]
The Wild West era is one of the most romanticized time periods in U.S. History. Also, where some of the best legends and criminals from American History reign during this era. Over the decades popular movie stars as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Henry Fonda, and Lee Van Cleef played in iconic Westerns that stand the test of time. The iconic bar fights, shootouts, and Mexican standoffs. The Wild West era was a key time period of moving West and modernization of the frontier at the same time. Now, we have hundreds of books and movies about that foregone time period. In many people’s mind today this harsh time period is looked upon fondly by Americans.
A piece of American history and Wild West history is coming up for auction. The revolver of Billy The Kid will be available at Bonhams Auction. Billy the Kid started his career at the young age of 15. His list of crimes include robbery, escapes from jail, and at least eight murders to his name. At the age of 21 he met his death at the hands of Sheriff Pat Garrett. Two shots where fired from Sheriff Garrett’s Colt Single Action Army pistol. One shot missing and one shot hitting Billy in the chest. The second shot proving to be the fatal one. Billy’s revolver will be sold at Bonhams auction on August 27th. The auction will also include a double barrel shogun owned by Billy, a Colt revolver owned by Bat Masterson, and a Springfield Trapdoor Rifle owned by Bill Hickok.
Below, are the details on the pistol from Bonhams Auction.
Firearm History & Details
THE GUN THAT KILLED BILLY THE KID: PAT GARRETT’S COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER USED TO KILL BILLY THE KID.
Serial number 55093 for 1880, .44-40 caliber 7 1/2 inch barrel, one line Hartford address crescent ejector rod head. DFC stamped over serial number on frame. Walnut grip.
Condition: Very good with traces of blue on barrel and cylinder flutes and other protected areas. Well worn grips.
Provenance: Billy Wilson (alias of David L. Anderson); taken by Pat Garrett when he arrested Wilson and the rest of the Billy the Kid gang at Stinking Springs; used by Garrett to kill Billy the Kid at Pete Maxwell’s, July 14, 1881 (notarized copy of a 1906 letter signed from Garrett); loaned to Tom Powers for exhibition at his Coney Island Saloon (appears in Tom Powers inventory and probate); recovered by Garrett’s widow, Apolinaria (Pauline) Garrett, from Powers estate, 1933 (signed and notarized letter from Jarvis P. Garrett, April 20, 1983; contemporary newspaper documentation, including pictures of her with the gun); sold to Calvin Moerbe of Round Rock, Texas, 1976; sold to Jim and Theresa Earle, July 14, 1983.
Literature: Garavaglia & Worman, Firearms of the American West, 1866-1894, Albuquerque, NM, 1985, p 293; Metz, Leon Claire, Pat Garrett: The Story of a Western Lawman, Norman, OK, 1973, p 102; Wilson, R.L., The Peacemakers, New York, 1992.
SHERIFF PAT GARRETT’S COLT SINGLE ACTION WHICH HE USED TO KILL BILLY THE KID, JULY 14, 1881, AT PETE MAXWELL’S RANCH.
An iconic piece of history from one of the most important events of the early west, Sheriff Pat Garrett’s yearlong pursuit of the notorious Billy the Kid. Now part of the American mythology, Garrett’s friendship with the Kid, their mutual respect, and his subsequent hunt, capture, escape and death have become the stuff of legend. The subject of hundreds of songs, films from Cecil B. Demille to Sam Peckinpah, and books, not to mention Aaron Copland’s opera, casting the Kid as both villainous outlaw and unsung hero fighting for justice, the story of Billy the Kid has woven its way into the American imagination. As early as 1929, historian J. Frank Dobie noted, “… because his daring apotheosized youth—youth in the saddle—youth with a flaming gun—and because his daring kept him running and balancing on the edge of a frightful precipice … Billy the Kid will always be interesting, will always appeal to the popular imagination” (Dobie, A Vaquero of the Brush Country, Austin, 1998, p 169).
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