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Historic .44-Caliber Revolver Nets $800,000

A Colt Walker pistol made for U.S. marshals in the 1840s brought a record $800,000 in a James D. Julia sale in Maine.
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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.

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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

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