A revolver owned by President Theodore Roosevelt sold during Rock Island Auction Company’s Dec. 5 event. The Colt Single Action Army was ordered as a gift for his 54th birthday and it shipped slightly more than a week before the election of 1912—10 days before an attempt on his life in Milwaukee, WI, while he campaigned for a third term in the White House.
Roosevelt’s Colt is chambered in .38 Long Colt, a suitable choice for the former head of San Juan Hill-charging Rough Riders. The pistol, however, is anything but field grade. The auction catalog explains, “…this Colt Single Action Army revolver is a recent discovery poised to become a new icon, as it is perhaps the most highly embellished firearm owned by the 26th President still in private circulation.”
Metalwork on the 4.75" barreled revolver has silver plating, grips are carved ivory and it wears what the company at the time termed “Level 2” engraving. The web page for the handgun’s auction states, “In terms of Colt Single Action Army Revolvers, it doesn’t get any better than a revolver ordered for the president that wore a Colt on his hip on the frontier and recorded as actively using a Colt in combat during the Spanish-American War.”
Even plain Jane handguns used sparingly on the silver screen commanded lofty sums last month. The Walther PP used by Sean Connery in his first Bond movie, “Dr. No,” sold through Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills for more than a quarter of a million dollars. In the film, “M” (Bernard Lee) introduced the gun as the Walther PPK. In reality Connery carried the Walther PP, which became standard equipment for many Bond heroes who followed.
Carl Walther introduced the Walther PP—Police Pistol—to the public in 1929. The company mainly manufactured the PP in caliber 7.65 mm (.32 ACP) and approximately one million have been produced. The Walther PPK has attained more notoriety among moviegoing MI6 fans. That pistol’s commercial production began in 1931 and 500,000 pieces have been manufactured since.