Antique Colt Walker Guns
Brief history and description
The Colt Walker was a single action revolver which was once the largest and most powerful repeating handgun ever manufactured.
It was invented in 1846 by American firearms inventor Samuel Colt and Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker. Urged by Walker to create a handgun that was extremely powerful at close range, Colt improved on an earlier five-shot revolver called the Colt Paterson. Colt added another bullet chamber and increased the amount of black powder each chamber could hold by more than double. When it was developed the Colt Walker had a practical range of about one-hundred yards and could reputedly strike a greater force than .54 calibre Mississippi rifle.
During the Mexican-American War, Samuel Walker carried two of his namesake revolvers but was killed only a short time after he had first received them.
Despite its large size and weight problems and a tendency for the cylinders to rupture whist firing, the Colt Walker has established a unique standing among handgun users and is one of the most familiar types of guns in modern day culture.
Guide for collectors
The original Colt Walker guns made in the mid-1840s are extremely rare. Only 1100 of these originals models were ever made which makes them highly valuable but very difficult and expensive for collectors to obtain.
Typical sale results from Christie’s and firearms specialist James D. Julia Inc., show that a standard Colt Walker made from 1846 to 1875 tends to be priced from $50,000 to $200,000. The price depends on a number of variables, such as the condition of the gun, if it comes with its original accessories – such as its powder box and cleaning kit – or if the gun had a unique history.
Although a few antique Colt Walker handguns appear at international auction houses like Christie’s and Bonhams, there is an abundance of specialist internet companies that specifically sell Colt Walkers. James D. Julia Inc., based in Fairfield, Maine, is the most notable example but Colt Walkers can also be purchased at Michaelsimens.com and Antique-derringer.com.
Although the prices are high, there is an enthusiastic community of Colt Walker collectors and there is a large supply of information and sources found on the internet that can be used as a reference tool for searching for Colt Walker revolvers and related memorabilia. Examples include Colt-walker.com and Vintageweaponry.com.
In October 2008, a rare Colt Walker revolver made in 1847 realised a price $920,000 when it was sold through James D. Julia Inc. in Fairfield, Maine. Considered to be the finest example of a surviving Mexican-American War period Colt Walker, the item had initially had a presales estimation of $500,000 to $1 million. The sale price made it the most expensive firearm ever sold in the world. James D. Julia Inc., had held the two previous world records for Colt Walker revolvers with sales of $480,000 and $432,000, which both took place in an auction in March 2006.
In June 2001, a pair of engraved Colt Walker 1851 revolvers was sold through Christie’s, New York, for a combined price of $17,625.