Colt 'Buntline Special' revolver realises $490,000 in Illinois auction

paulfrasercollectibles

2015-06-26 12:58:52

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Colt 'Buntline Special' revolver realises $490,000 in Illinois auction

The special Colt revolver was supposedly commissioned by dime novelist Ned Buntline

An extremely rare example of the Colt "Buntline Special" Revolver has sold as the star lot in a US gun auction that closed September 9.

Colt Buntline Special Single Action ArmyThe Buntline Special has a detachable stockthat converts itinto a rifle

The gun is a variant of the Colt Single Action Army and takes its name from Stuart N Lake's biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall, which was first published in 1931. The author claimed that the renowned dime novelist Ned Buntline had commissioned the extra-long barrelled revolvers and presented them to various lawmen, including Earp, in thanks for their help with his books.

However, there is no proof to support these claims in the Colt records, and it is known that revolvers with 16-inch barrels - such as the example at auction - were available from the manufacturer as early as 1876. While Earp may have owned, and even favoured, one of the "Buntline Specials", it was certainly not first commissioned by Ned Buntline.

Featuring a detachable stock, which allows it to be turned into a rifle, the .45 caliber firearm is one of the most sought after Colt Single Action Armys. It was presented in the auction complete with factory documentation and various letters of authenticity from respected experts, such as R L Wilson, who states it to be "one of the finest known".

Only 18 such revolvers are recorded in the Colt factory's records and only 10 of them have 16-inch barrels. With this example being the best documented of the ten and in fine condition, it sold for $490,000 - a 3.1% increase on its pre-sale estimate of $475,000.

For more news on gun collecting, visit our dedicated Medals and Militaria news section. We also have superb range of militaria available in our online store, including the exceedingly rare autograph of George Armstrong Custer, the American general who fell at Little Bighorn.

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