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Auction Date: May 2, 2014

Lot 1180: Colt - Single Action Army

Sold for Colt - Single Action Army
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Historic Ed McGivern Pre-War Colt Single Action Army 357 Magnum Revolver with Ivory Grips and Original Ed McGivern Letters, Photos and Manuscript
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $25,000
Item Views 200 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - Single Action Army ManufacturerColt ModelSingle Action Army
TypeRevolver Gauge357 Magnum Catalog Page114
Barrel5 1/2 Inch Round FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockivory ClassCurio & Relic Handgun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionWe are very pleased to offer this exceptionally rare and historic Colt SAA revolver chambered in ".357 Magnum" as originally owned by the world renowned exhibition and trick shooter, Ed McGivern. Mr. McGivern performed throughout Europe and the U.S. in the late 1930s through the 1950s. At one time he was dubbed "The Fastest Gun In the World" and his feats of speed and trick shooting were legendary in the shooting industry. Early on in his career, he even helped develop some of the early police defensive training courses pioneered by the fledgling FBI. He additionally wrote extensively for Outdoor Life and the American Rifleman magazines. This specific pistol is factory documented as being sold in 1937 to the Murta, Appleton and Company and on to Walter Groff (Ed McGivern's benefactor) who presented this pistol to Ed McGivern in exchange for being trained to be a "Fast and Accurate Handgun Shooter" by Ed himself. This pistol stayed in the possession of Mr. McGivern until his death where his widow returned all of Ed's guns to Mr. Groff. They stayed in the possession of Walter Groff until his death where Walter's widow donated all of his weapons to the NRA museum except for two, one of which is this Colt SAA revolver (SN 356015 ) in .357 Magnum. This pistol is accompanied by a 1986 Colt factory letter, more letters and documentation, early photos of both Ed and Walter Groff, and correspondence from the ATF (dated Oct 1976) noting this specific pistol as a Curio and Relic based on its historical significance. Two of the most interesting and unique items that accompany this pistol is an original hand typed manuscript by H. F. Worley Director of the School of Instructions titled "Practical Shooting for Accuracy and Safety" that contains Ed McGivern's hand written comments; and an original handwritten letter from Ed McGivern's to Walter Groff asking him to review the manuscript of a copy of a proposed government training course for revolver shootings. What a time capsule this is and which provides a true glimpse into some of the thoughts of Ed McGivern himself. Additionally included are two copies of American Rifleman magazines; one dated June 1945, showing some of Ed's early techniques and excerpts from his book; and a October 1974 copy also showing and describing Ed's shooting talents and picturing several of his handguns, three similar to his one. Also included are several photo copies of the "timed" trick shooting targets he fired at the Armory Range in Lewistown, Montana, circa 1932, as well as various other articles from Gun magazines during his career showing some of his actual pistols. As noted, this revolver is a pre-war Colt SAA in 357 Magnum (one of his favorites) fitted with a 5-1/2 inch barrel and factory Colt medallion ivory grips. The pistol has the standard two-line Colt patent dates on the left side of the frame, followed by the Rampant Colt horse logo. The top of the barrel has the single line address markings "COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A" and the left side of the barrel is marked "COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY 357". It has all matching serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard and back strap (both of which are correctly marked under the grip on the right side) and the cylinder is unnumbered which is common during this period. It has the all blue parts with the casehardened frame with the sides of the hammer being polished. It has both grip straps and the face of the trigger checkered, not noted on the factory letter, it appears to be factory done. A superb pre-war Colt that has clear historical lineage to a very famous and noteworthy firearms expert with tons of documentation authenticating this exceptional revolver.

ConditionExtremely fine with 95% of the original blue and case colors overall with edge and high spot wear with the case staring to fade slightly just from handling and age. The grips are excellent with a nice original hue with both sides showing some minor age cracks on the sides. The various articles, magazine and documentation are all fine. Truly a rare and one of a kind historic revolver owned by one of the pioneers of early handgun shooting techniques.
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