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Historic guns, sword may set records April 13-15

A “Danish Sea Captain Walker" Colt revolver in impressive condition and its original case will come before bidders during Rock Island Auction's April 13-15 historic guns sale.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Firearms auctions at Rock Island Auction Company regularly contain thousands of historic guns. These guns are the models that collectors dream of placing in their own collections. Yet, three items in particular stand out in the firm’s Premier Firearms Auction April 13-15.

Colt Civilian Walker Percussion Revolver

Historic only-known Colt Civilian Walker Percussion Revolver, also known as "The Danish Sea Captain Walker." (All photos courtesy Rock Island Auctions)

Legendary Colt Coming to Auction

First and foremost is a Colt revolver well-known to the collecting world – perhaps the most well-published percussion Colt to date. Appearing in roughly one dozen prominent books and periodicals, the gun is iconic in rarity and high-end collecting. Colloquially, it goes by the “Danish Sea Captain Walker,” but more specifically, it is the only the Civilian Colt Walker still in its original case.

The story of this Walker example states that it was originally shipped to retailer Blunt & Syms in New York City, one of the very first stores to sell Colts. The purchase came by visiting Danish sea captain Niels Hanson. It was passed down through his descendants until it was eventually sold to a Danish gun collector. During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Denmark, it was buried with its case in a garden, eventually being unearthed and re-entering the collector market. It sold shortly thereafter for a then-record $10,000.

Service Sword Expecting to Captivate Bidders

Next up is a sword borne by Confederate General Paul J. Semmes. When this sword was visible ,it was the darling of critic, collector, and expert alike. called it

“The most historic Confederate weapon we have ever had the pleasure to catalog.”

Ames, the Rolls Royce of American sword makers, reserved the straight blade and cruciform cross guard for their finest high-grade swords. This blade bears diamonds, the only Ames sword in existence. It additionally boasts a covering of silver, gilded in gold. It also offers a blade remarkably etched in a patriotic motif. In all its grandeur, its presentation dates to 1854. The recipient, Captain Paul J. Semmes, of the Columbus Guard.

Civil War presentation sword

Inscribed Ames officer's presentation sword and scabbard, circa Civil War.

Dance & Brothers Revolver Represents

Last up is the second-known J.H. Dance & Brothers Confederate revolver with factory engraving. The other known existing model is serial number 172, well-documented in Wiggins’ book Dance & Brothers. This significant find brought to the collecting community by Rock Island Auction Company is serial number 179, and the stamping and embellishment techniques are near identical to the known factory embellished Dance revolver.

Not only is this a Confederate weapon, it’s rare. The specimen is a Dance Brothers revolver – one of about 500 manufactured. Learn more about Rock Island Auction’s April 13-15 sale at

Dragoon percussion revolver

Identified fresh-to-the-market engraved Confederate J.H. Dance & Brothers .44 caliber dragoon percussion revolver.