An anonymous bidder paid a record $800,000 for a historic .44-caliber revolver in a James D. Julia auction of the Doug Smith firearm collection on Oct. 7. And Maine auctioneer James Julia said that despite the price, it was a bargain.
The Colt Walker pistol made for U.S. marshals in the 1840s belonged to University of Maine graduate John McBride’s great-great-uncle. McBride, who lives in Montana, returned to Maine for the auction. According to the Associated Press, he waved his cowboy hat and cheered “Yee-ha” when bidding ended for the gun he said he’s never fired.
The 80-year-old McBride, said it was a tough decision to sell a piece of family history.
"It was in a box until 1941, then we moved to Worcester, Mass., and had it on display on the wall," McBride said. "It was a painful decision. The family would rather have land than pistols. I can understand that. I don’t necessarily agree with it."
The handgun known as "The Marshal’s Gun" was the most powerful handgun in the world for more than a century until the .44 magnum appeared in 1954, Julia said.
according to Julia, McBride’s piece fetched a record price because it was in great condition,.
Bidding for the Colt Walker started at $300,000 and quickly jumped to $700,000 before ending up at $800,000, a price Julia declared to be "an absolute bargain."
Wes Dillon, sales coordinator for Julia’s firearms division, said the gun was a "pristine original."
This was just one piece in a sale full of unique firearms, including Lugers and other military-related firearms. For more information on the sale, visit www.jamesdjulia.com.