Auction of the finest Cavalry, all I can say is wow:https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/77/124/documented-1880-production-colt-cavalry-model-sa-revolver
Uberti Open Top 1872 model in .45Colt with 7 1/2" barrel, Colt M1945A1, Winchester 1873 & 94.
Amazing. Love the photo with the hat and holster.
Well, it will be interesting to see what this one ultimately brings. I think the pre auction estimate is overly optimistic at $160,000 to $250,000, especially since I think that Cavalry (and Artillery) Model revolvers may have peaked in the last three years and are on a downward slope. Then again, for the best of the best, that may not apply.
The best way to determine if this estimate is overly optimistic is to see what others have sold for in the last three years, at auction. Of course, I have no idea what private sale transactions may have occurred, unless I am the buyer or seller. I elected to look at recent past sales at Rock Island Auctions and Morphy Auctions (and James D Julia).
First, the most a Cavalry Model ever brought, to the best of my knowledge, is this one:
This is an extraordinary revolver because of its ironclad provenance and because that provenance proves that this was actually used at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Smashed through the pre auction estimates of $175,000 to $275,000, hammering in at $460,000, including buyer's premium. Sold Spring 2017. This is one of a kind, and all the rest do not have this provenance. This is clearly like comparing apples to oranges, this revolver, vs the one being offered at Rock Island Auction next week.
So, the next best thing is to look at high condition Cavalry Model revolvers having sold within the last 3 years. Very few have condition.
Here's a Nettleton sub inspected Cavalry Model that sold in December at Rock Island Auction:
More desirable than a D.F.C. inspected revolver, but the condition, which the auction house describes as 85% is not in the league of the revolver coming up for auction next week, number 55104. The Nettleton revolver sold for $63,250, including buyer's premium. The Nettleton revolver is beautiful, but placing an image of it next to the David F Clark, number 55104, demonstrates how much more vivid 55104 is relative to number 49158. I should mention that when this degree of condition is involved, I think a Nettleton being more desirable than a Clark sub inspected revolver is relatively inconsequential.
Then this one: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/...ntoryid=252818
R.A.C. sub inspected, $20,740 in February 2017.
And this one, $60,000 in March 2018: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/...ntoryid=442687
No Kopec letter, the collection it came from, from what I have heard, contained some "helped" items.
Another one, same collection, same auction: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/...ntoryid=442686
Hammered at $45,000. Again, no Kopec letter. At that price range, I'd definitely want one.
Another one, at $30,000, same auction, no Kopec letter: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com/...ntoryid=442518
Here's an exceptional Nettleton, sold last September for $109,250. The revolver being sold next week is clearly superior to this one (not really--this one IS superior to the one being auctioned!): https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/74/74/documented-henry-nettleton-subinspected-colt-single-action-army
Edit: Further analysis reveals this one is indeed superior to the one being auctioned as this one seems genuine; see later posts that describes flaws in revolver being auctioned, when further scrutinized.
And a nice David F Clark, no 55267, sold $46,000, September 2017: https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...-david-f-clark
And a David F Clark, sold May 2017 for $46,000: https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...factory-letter
An Ainsworth sub inspected revolver from the same auction, $63,250: https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...r-45-long-colt
So, other than the extremely rare Colt Cavalry Model revolver, no 5773, that was at Little Bighorn, it appears that the most one of these has bought at auction in the last three years is just shy of $110,000. The low end estimate for no 55104 is $50,000 greater than this in a, like I said, climate in which the prices on these seem to be falling.
However, this is perhaps the finest Cavalry Model with regards to condition in existence, or very close to it. Two individuals with deep pockets and the desire for "bragging rights" could drive this one rather high, but, looking at this in a sane manner, and comparing as to what others have sold for it appears that a 6 figure price tag is warranted, but when one starts pushing $150,000, does it make good business sense?
Last edited by mrcvs; 09-05-2019 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Correction to describe revolver being auctioned not as superior as originally believed
“but when one starts pushing $150,000, does it make good business sense?”
Hahaha! Informative write-up mrcvs but that last line made me chuckle.
Nice rundown mrcvs. These things are above my pay grade for sure, lol.
Say what you want but this is the defining factor as to what this gun will sell for.
"this is perhaps the finest Cavalry Model with regards to condition in existence"
But, how much more is the very best one out there worth relative to the next highest one, at $109,250? And, that one is an extreme outlier relative to others I identified.
Often, the ultimate purchaser of something like this has nearly unlimited funds, and doesn't care what it costs. The important thing, in their mind, is that they own it.
This one's out of my league, unfortunately. I wish to congratulate, in advance, the next caretaker of this stellar example of a Cavalry model.
Just curious. In Mr. Kopec's letter he states that he feels the firearm had never been shot. Why then such a ring around the cylinder and wear marks on the cylinder notches? Do you all think that through all these years the gun was just cocked and re-cocked over and over again to feel the action?
Last edited by scstrain; 09-02-2019 at 04:13 PM.