1874 Colt Revolver & Holster

Value (2004) | $20,500 Retail

My grandfather was a thresher in eastern Oregon. He had a friend who acquired some property near Idaho City, which was a gold-mining town above Boise, Idaho. On that property was a building, and in the rafters of that building he found this revolver. He and my grandfather were great friends, and Bill Cowden, who was this gentleman right here, who found the weapon, gave it to my uncle as a gift. So then it came to me. Cowden would have found it, I imagine, somewhere in the range of 1899 to 1902.


My uncle received it probably about 1920. And I received it in 1990.

Well, it's an 1873 Colt single-action army, and it was manufactured in 1874, the second year of production, and it was issued to the U.S. Army for the cavalry. This is serial number 8303. The earlier ones, in the 6000 range, were issued to Custer's troops, and they bring huge amounts of money. It's not Custer, but it's still cavalry. It was inspected by Ainsworth, and it's got the inspector's mark under the barrel, and then on the grips, on the other side, it's got a military inspector's mark. I think the most exciting thing about the gun, though, is those early U.S. guns, you never find them with any blue on the barrels, and this has got generous amounts of it. This has got probably at least 50% of the original blue, and then this down in here is called case colors on the frame, and it's got generous amounts of that. The gun should be oiled more than you're oiling it, because it's getting a little bit dry. Do you store it in a holster?

No. No, I store it in a wool sock. I was told that the lanolin in there is good for the gun, so...

Just put a little more oil on it-- not on the wood, just on the metal. But the nice thing about it is it's not been altered. A lot of these single-action we see at the gun shows have been monkeyed with, and this has all the original parts, and it's just unusual to see one totally untouched. The holster is a little later, so it could've been used with the gun, but wasn't issued with the gun. Did you have any idea of its value?

I talked to a gentleman once, and he said, for insurance purposes, about $6,000.

Well, the holster is worth around $500, and the gun would sell for $20,000.


So the total value for the entire package is $20,500. So it's a nice thing.

Yes, I'm... I'm amazed.

I was very excited to see it. It's just something we don't see very often.

Thank you very much.

Thank you for bringing it in. If you want to insure it, you can insure it for more than that.


Appraisal Details

Sacramento, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$20,500 Retail
Portland, OR (August 21, 2004)
19th Century
Metal, Wood

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