Jesse James’ Colt .45 Expected to Fetch $1.6 Million at Auction

November 15 2013
by GSL Staff
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6james_t607One of the most well documented guns to be tied to the notorious outlaw, Jesse James, is going to be auctioned off with a starting price of $400,000.

Experts are pegging the gun’s final sale value near $1.6 million, or more.

The gun has an excellent provenance that accounts for ownership of the gun all the way from James’ death in 1882, when he was assassinated by a member of his gang, Robert Ford.

The gun is believed to be the same on shown in this widely circulated photo of some of James’ belongings on display, signed by his son (below).


As if owning Jesse James’ Colt 45 wasn’t good enough, the piece is actually a nice collector’s gun in and of itself.

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According to the auction house,

While the value of this revolver clearly derives from its stature as a Jesse James relic rather than its intrinsic nature, we nonetheless feel an accurate description of its condition is in order. Overall, the gun is very good. Approximately 40% of the original factory nickel plating remains, with the balance a brownish gray patina, showing wear, nicks, and scattered light pitting which probably resulted from inadequate cleaning after black powder bullets were fired. Front sight purposely filed to a low profile after leaving the factory, possibly for ease in removing quickly from its holster. Action operating, trigger and hammer notches imperfect.

Markings clear, matching serial numbers. Grips of a mellow color, with the expected oil stains and small cracks from use. Repair to right panel at front of butt. The ejector housing and rod are replacements. The gun as shown in the 1923 display is missing the housing. While the wear and patination on the housing now part of the gun are similar to the gun’s barrel, under careful examination it is clear that the two parts do not match, and that this housing was taken from another single action and used as a replacement on the James gun. When the hammer is cocked, it will engage both the safety notch and also function on half cock. When pulled back for full cock, the trigger does not engage that notch but instead engages the half cock notch.

The auction will take place in Los Angeles on November 24.

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