Jesse James' Colt revolver to make $400,000+ with Heritage Auctions



2015-06-26 13:30:23

Jesse James' Colt revolver to make $400,000+ with Heritage Auctions

The best-documented Jesse James gun, his Colt revolver, originates from his family

A Colt .45 revolver described as "the most thoroughly documented Jess James gun ever to appear at auction" is the star lot of Heritage Auctions' November 24 Legends of the West Signature Auction.

The gun, which first surfaced at an exhibition of James' guns held by his son, Jesse James Jr, in the 1920s, will sell with a $400,000+ estimate.

Outlaw guns such as this are often held with suspicion, as so many fake and undocumented examples appear on the market. It is the superb provenance of the current lot that gives it its value.

 The gun is pictured in a display of Jesse James' guns and possessions that was organised by his son

The gun is pictured in a period photograph of Jesse James Jr's display of his father's effects, which was first published in the 1936 book The Crittenden Memoirs. The rare book was written by HH Crittenden, son of the Missouri governor who had conspired to have James killed.

The original photograph is inscribed in the margin "May 4th, 1923 to HH Crittenden. This is an authentic picture with my compliments Jess James, Jr". Crittenden and Jesse James Jr had become friends despite their fathers being sworn enemies, with the outlaw's son hired as an office boy at Crittenden's real estate office.

Jesse James Jr HH Crittenden The original photograph of the display, as pictured in Crittenden's book

The gun has since passed through the hands of many different collectors, but remains well-documented throughout its journey. It was the subject of a law suit between James and a Dr Lowery in the mid-1930s. Itwas also investigated by Henry Ford for display in his museum of American history in Michigan.

In 2003, the Smith & Wesson revolver that killed Jesse James sold for $490,000 at auction, while in October 2012, the guns retrieved from Bonnie and Clyde's bodies brought a total of $504,000.

The market for well-documented outlaw guns is strong, and with Jesse James perhaps the most famous outlaw of them all, the gun is sure to sell well.

Also starring, at $100,000+, is Annie Oakley's 16-gauge Parker Brothers hammer shotgun, which is thought to be the same that Oakley famously referred to as "my first real gun". In June 2012, Heritage Auctions sold the 12-gauge shotgun owned by Oakley for $143,000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has this wonderful signed note and photograph of Annie Oakley for sale - the perfect addition to your collection.

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