Colt pistol achieves world-record at Greg Martin auction

Intended to dovetail with the Las Vegas Antique, Sporting Arms and Custom Knifemakers Show on Jan. 16-18, the Greg Martin Auctions auction was an exceptional success, realizing more than $3 million in sales.

The auction featured two collections of Colts. The Buck Stevens collection offered 77 lots including one of the rarest firearms in existence – the historic Colt Single Action Army Revolver Serial No. 1. Called the “Peacemaker.” This Colt, along with background material and its custom gold-embossed display case, was estimated to bring $500,000-$1,000,000. When the auctioneer’s gavel came down, Serial No. 1 stole the show – realizing $862,500 and a new world-record price for a Colt Single Action firearm sold at auction.

Celebrated since its discovery in 1925, only five collector owners had possessed this handgun. As the first in the unique production run of Single Action Army revolvers – and its copies – No. 1 is an American icon, and among the most revered firearms ever manufactured. The gold-tooled and inscribed leather case was custom made by Arno Werner Bookbinders to showcase the rarity and significance of this important and historic Colt.

 “Big Medicine,” a Single Action Army .45 caliber 4 3/4-inch revolver made for Crow chief and Custer scout Big Medicine, complete with extensive history, more than doubled its estimate. The unique inscription was factory-engraved on the barrel top, to rear of the front sight: “Big Medicine/Chief of Police.” The detailed history, in a loose-leaf binder, includes the documenting factory letter, background on the Chief, and the origin of his revolver, a gift from 17 U.S. Army officers to a man respected for his bravery and service record. The Big Medicine Colt is the only 19th-century Indian single action documented in the factory records. The price realized was more than double the estimate of $50,000-$70,000, selling for $149,500.

The second assemblage showcased in the January auction – the Colt factory archives collection – presented firearms unique in American history. Offered to the collecting public in three parts, the collection features more than 1,200 lots, from the Colt factory’s earliest years through today.

Greg Martin, principal of the company, was pleased with the auction – but not surprised at the results. “Quality and rarity attract buyers,” Martin said.

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