According to Rock Island Auction Company, a direct descendant of early Mormon Church leader Brigham Young will place his predecessor’s personal Colt revolver up for sale as the flagship item at an Illinois firearms auction from April 29 to May 1.
It’s expected to sell for between $550,000 and $850,000 when it goes up on the RIAC block, along with more than 3,000 other firearms.
“This is an iconic piece of Americana,” says RIAC President Kevin Hogan. “Its direct ties to the settling of the West, and to the early Mormon Church are incredible. Frankly, we’re fortunate this piece isn’t already housed in a museum. It is an unrivaled opportunity to own a newly discovered national treasure.”
The revolver, from 1854, is in excellent condition and includes engraving done by Gustave Young, a prominent 19th Century firearms engraver.
This story from CNN Money says the gun comes with a “deluxe rosewood case lined in red wine velvet,” a silver powder flask, a bullet mold, and other tools.
The story says: “It is the gun that Young ‘personally cleaned, loaded and kept at the ready’ for use against ‘nefarious persons.'”
The auction will also include a Winchester lever action from 1886, which is expected to bring $500,000 to $700,000. The rifle was presented as a reward to Capt. Henry Ware Lawton for accepting the surrender of the legendary Apache warrior Geronimo in 1886. Lawton won the Medal of Honor in the Civil War 20 years before he fought a running battle with the last Apache warriors in Southwest canyon country before negotiating a surrender.
According to the story, the rifle was given to to Lawton by Lt. George Albe, who served with him in the Civil War before going to work for Winchester Repeating Arms. Lawton was also gifted with a pocket watch for “his gallant service in the capture of Apache Indian Chief Geronimo and his band,” according to its inscription. The watch is included in the auction lot with the rifle.
Albe also gave Lawton a sword, which is being auction in a separate lot.
Another noted item in the auction is a Thompson submachine gun from the 1920s, which is expected to fetch $30,000 to $45,000. It’s a fully automatic Thompson from before the National Firearms Act was written, but it’s still governed by the Act.
A somewhat surprisingly high-valued item is a much newer Colt revolver than Brigham Young’s, a .357 Magnum Python from 1975, expected to bring $1,800 to $2,500. The Python had a great reputation for accuracy and reliability when it was being manufactured. Since being discontinued, it’s been prized by collectors, and has gained recent popularity because of its station as the constant sidearm of Rick Grimes in the popular TV series “The Walking Dead.”