Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 2465: John Wayne's Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Auction Date: October 7, 2021

Documented Hollywood Icon John Wayne Owned Colt First Generation Single Action Army Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $40,000

Documented Hollywood Icon John Wayne Owned Colt First Generation Single Action Army Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 WCF
Barrel: 4 3/4 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: plastic
Item Views: 25410
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun
Bore Condition: Good - Some light pitting or frosted appearance

OC - FINE- all original parts; over 30% original finish, sharp lettering, numerals and design on metal and wood; minor marks in wood.


Factory letter lists revolver with 5 1/2" barrel in .45 caliber, blue finish and type of stocks not listed. Revolver was shipped to John E. Dougty (unknown address) on August 7, 1909 (incorrectly listed as a Bisley). Subsequently altered with a 4 3/4" Bisley barrel and cylinder in .44 WCF, replacement grip straps and oversized trigger guard. Purportedly the revolver and including unmarked holster rig were owned by John Wayne and used by him in the films "The Cowboys," "True Grit" and "Rooster Cogburn" as well as others. The belt rig contains .44 WCF cartridges as well as one .45-70 Springfield trapdoor cartridge which was said to be carried by Wayne in tribute to the American soldiers of the Indian Wars. An included copy of a notarized statement from former owner Gary Hess, an employee/engineer for Wayne's firm DECO, states that John Wayne gave him this revolver and rig in 1978. Copies of two notarized statements by witnesses confirm that Wayne gave Hess the revolver and rig. Copies of a 1976 appraisal of Wayne's gun collection lists this SAA by serial number. The included copy of the Jan. 28, 1972 issue of Life magazine features Wayne in costume for "The Cowboys" wearing the holster rig with the SAA on the cover and a copy of a still from "Rooster Cogburn" also shows Wayne wearing the rig and SAA. This SAA holster rig was customized for Wayne in the 1950s because his fingers did not fit in a standard SAA trigger guard, was used by Wayne in many films, the last being "Rooster Cogburn," was on display at the John Wayne Theater in Knotts Berry Farm, and was modeled for the bronze statue of Wayne located at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Other included items: reprint of a Wayne autograph photo, George Bishop's "John Wayne: The Actor/The Man," three 17x11 movie poster reprints ("The Shootist," "The Sons of Katie Elder," "Big Jake), and tin sign featuring Wayne's image and quote from the "Green Berets." A SAA holster rig owned by legendary Hollywood actor John Wayne that will be a great addition to any Colt or Hollywood memorabilia collection. Provenance: The Dr. Robert Azar Collection

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