It has often been said that the horse and the handgun played a major role in the history of the American West, and it is true that gun collectors tend to take a close interest in the machinations of history. These interests, which often overlap, help explain why many of the most expensive guns ever sold are so historically significant that collectors are willing to pay six or seven figures just for the opportunity to hold a gun once used by the likes of Wyatt Earp, Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington.
Of course, the value of the most expensive firearms ever sold is not determined solely by their historical significance, as many of the following firearms are sold at such a price simply because of the precision of the mechanics, the quality or rarity of the materials used, or the exceptional functionality of the firearm for its specific purpose. It is for these reasons that the following list includes firearms belonging to some of the greatest heroes – and villains – in history, as well as other firearms representing nothing less than the most exemplary craftsmanship the firearms industry has ever known.
Read on as We, the Holsters of the People share the 11 most expensive guns ever sold.
Big Bang Cabot Guns Set – $4,500,000
Described by Cabot’s CEO as “truly different” and “terribly unique”, the Cabot Guns Big Bang gun set is sold for $4.5 million, simply because these guns are made from almost nothing but octahedral iron meteorite. The 1911 style pistol is made from part of the Gibeon meteorite, which means that the two .
Pair of saddle pistols belonging to George Washington – 1,986,000
This pair of saddle pistols actually belonged to two American presidents. George Washington’s valuable firearms were eventually inherited by Andrew Jackson, who was the nation’s seventh president. The Marquis de Lafayette was once again charged with the task of presenting a pair of pistols to a revolutionary hero, since Lafayette gave the saddle pistols to Washington, the man who served as his mentor for many years after volunteering to fight in the American Revolution at the age of 19.
Throughout his own presidency, Jackson cherished the pistols as much as Washington did and called them “sacred and holy relics,” so much so that he saw to it that the side bolt pistols were finally bequeathed to the Lafayette family.
Pair of flintlock pistols belonging to Simon Bolivar – $1,687,500
The famous liberator of much of South America, Simon Bolivar, owned this pair of flintlock pistols which brought in over $1.6 million in 2004. Presented to Bolivar by the Marquis de Lafayette (who served under George Washington during the War of Independence), the silver-mounted, striped flintlock pistols were made by the famous French gunsmith Nicolas-Noël Boutet, known for his role as Napoleon Bonaparte’s gunsmith.
1886 Winchester rifle belonging to Henry Ware Lawton – 1 260 000
Major General Henry Ware Lawton — famous for capturing the Apache leader Geronimo — was presented with this Winchester rifle as a gift in honour of his successful military campaign during the Apache War. The rifle bore a serial number “1” and was recently sold for over $1.2 million.
The lever action rifle has an engraving in its blue and case-hardened finish which indicates its status as a gift from Lieutenant George E. Albee (one of the Medal of Honour recipients) to Lawton. Chambered to 45-70 caliber, the Winchester 1886 features a 26 inch octagonal barrel and a full length magazine.
Colt Walker .44 Black Powder revolver from 1847 – 920 000
One of the rarest weapons sought after by collectors, an immaculate version of the Colt Walker .44 Black Powder Revolver – with its powerful nine-inch barrel – sold for $920,000 in 2008. The single-action pistol with rotating cylinder was preferred by the Texas Rangers at the time, but it is now quite rare on the open market: it is estimated that there are only 170 of them. This Colt Walker .44 earned such a high price because of its unique original condition, as it was free of corrosion and even included the vial of black powder with which it was issued to Private Sam Wilson in 1847.
Fox Gun Company, custom made double barrel shotgun, owned by Theodore Roosevelt – $862,500
Teddy Roosevelt was one of the finest examples of masculinity in the twentieth century, when the American President and Rough Rider engaged in almost every lawsuit ever associated with the concept of “manhood”. A revered figure in American history, Roosevelt’s double-barrel shotgun, manufactured by the Fox Gun Company, sold for $862,500 in 2010. Roosevelt himself praised the 12-gauge, FE grade, double-barrelled shotgun, stating in a letter sent on safari to Africa (later published by Scribner’s Magazine) that “no better rifle has ever been made”, referring, of course, to the Fox No. 12 shotgun.
Smith & Wesson .44 Owned by Robert Ford – $350,000
Robert Ford, perhaps better known as “The Coward Robert Ford”, owned the Smith & Wesson .44 which sold at auction in 2003 for $350,000. It is, of course, the weapon Ford used to murder Jesse James in 1882. Ford and his brother Charley, both members of the James Gang, conspired to kill Jesse James for several months before April 3, 1882, and it was Robert who shot James unarmed in the back of the head — shortly after breakfast while James was standing on a chair dusting a frame. Charley later testified that Robert had used the Smith & Wesson revolver on that April morning, stating that the revolver was easier to conceal and could be quickly removed from his pocket.
Holland & Holland Royal Deluxe Double Rifle – $228,000
Preferred by members of the British Royal Family, Holland & Holland prides itself on having handcrafted its Royal Deluxe Rifle for at least 850 hours. The accuracy and remarkable appearance of this rifle is certainly due to its craftsmanship and highly detailed approach. This is why Holland & Holland can claim a large part of the world’s elite among its customers.
The Royal Deluxe is an H&H Belted .375 caliber double rifle with a 24 inch barrel and a weight of just under 12 pounds. The detachable mount sights, which are zeroed at 100 meters, are Swarovski Z6i 1-6×24. It should be noted that engraving has a function that goes beyond decoration, as the fine lines used in the engraving process diffuse the reflection of light.
Colt .45 revolver belonging to Wyatt Earp – 225 000
Perhaps the best-known figure in the American West, Wyatt Earp’s life story has been tied together many times because of his role in larger-than-life events such as the OK Corral shooting. The legendary Kansas and Tombstone lawman’s Colt .45 revolver sold at such a high price not only because it was one of the many weapons Earp owned, but also because it is believed to be the revolver used in the most famous shooting in the history of the Wild West.
Of course, there has been much controversial debate on this subject, with many claiming that the single-action Colt .45 Earp worn in the famous Fitzsimmons/Sharkey fight was the same as the one used at the OK Corral; others, however, believe that Earp had a .44 Smith & Wesson. Clearly, even the slightest doubt on the matter did not prevent the prospective buyer from paying $225,000 to own this piece of history.
Walther PP 7.65 mm gold belonging to Hitler – $114,000
Bearing the initials of the greatest villain in history, the Walther PP 7.65 mm gold with ivory handle that once belonged to Adolf Hitler sold for $114,000 in 1987 and is now valued at a much higher price. It has been sold several times since the last reported sale, but it should come as no surprise that a buyer prefers to remain anonymous when advancing six and perhaps even seven figures for the right to own the weapon that the Walther family gave to Hitler on his 50th birthday.
With a gold inscription identifying the Walther family as the presenter of such a richly detailed and custom-made double-action, right-recoil pistol, it is clear that the gift was given not only to honor Hitler’s 50th birthday, but also to show his gratitude for the decision to equip his army with the Walther P-38, replacing the P-08 Luger.
Still Looking for More Interesting Articles?
It’s quite amazing how expensive some of the items are on this list, however, there are many other things that people are willing to spend a lot of money on as well. After all, the cannabis industry is already in the multi-billions!
To learn more about interesting topics and trends like the ones featured in this article, make sure you visit our main page.