This pistol was obtained by Buffalo Bill Cody in August 1911 and is listed in the Savage factory records as a "32 Special Grade" as it has exceptional, diminutive scroll engraving on the frame and slide, with the back strap engraved with the inscription "COL. W.F.CODY". It is fitted with an original and very rare set of Mother-of-Pearl grips, that are smooth and flat to the frame that have a steel center escutcheons with the intertwined and engraved, "SA" for Savage Arms. Buffalo Bill Cody was quoted in many Savage advertisements as saying; "This is the first automatic pistol I ever owned or fired. I had turned them down without trial and stuck to an old Army revolver. Today I took the old revolver and the Savage automatic out and fired each fifty times making, to my surprise, a much better score with the automatic than I could with my old pet gun." This lot includes various letters of authentication, one of which is a letter from R.L. Wilson, in which he states; "The Buffalo Bill's presentation Savage pistol is rare and important for many reasons; not the least being that he (Buffalo Bill) owned so very few automatic pistols." This pistol was the only one known to him (R.L. Wilson) to "NOT" be in any collection or museum and the only one available for purchase to private collectors. The legendary name "Buffalo Bill" Cody needs no introduction to any real American officiado as his name and exploits are synonymous with the opening of the Western Frontier, his hunting exploits while employed by the railroads and the development and presentation of the first and only true "Wild West" circus shows. He was born William Fredrick Cody, in 1846, not more than 10 miles from Rock Island Auction Company near the small river town of LeClaire Iowa in Scott County, right on the Mississippi river. At the early age his family moved to Leavenworth Kansas where at the age of 12 he worked for a freight service (wagon train) and headed for Fort Laramie in Wyoming crossing the frontier many times. In 1859 he left Wyoming and went to try his luck at Gold prospecting in Colorado, in which he did not fare well. As he returned to Kansas only a few months later and worked for the "Pony Express" in Kansas and Colorado. After the death of his mother in 1863, he joined the Union Army and served with the 7th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry Regiment throughout the Civil War. In 1867 he began working for the Kansas Pacific Railroad as a scout and hunter and over an 18 month period, killed over 4,280 buffalo, (by his accounts). His one-day record was sixty-nine Buffalo shot in one day with the only other closest mounted contestant hunters record was forty-six. In 1868 he again joined the U.S. Army as an civilian Army Scout and guide with the 5th Calvary. In 1872 he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for valor during the Indian Wars and was only "1 of 4" civilian scouts ever to actually earn this medal. It was presented by General Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame, who became a big promoter of Buffalo Bill Cody. In late 1872, Cody went to Chicago to make his stage debut in The Scouts of the Prairie, one of Ned Buntline’s original Wild West shows (Buntline was also the author of the Buffalo Bill novels). The next year, "Wild Bill" Hickok joined the show and the troupe toured for ten years. In 1883, Cody founded his own show, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West," a circus-like extravaganza that toured widely for three decades in the United States and later throughout Europe. Besides Buffalo Bill himself, the Wild West show starred sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Chief Sitting Bull, real wild west cowboys and range hands as extras and stand-ins. Because of his fondness for this pistol, in November, 1911 and January, 1912 Buffalo Bill Cody ordered five Savage pistols to be engraved with the names of some of his friends. This pistol and it inscription is mentioned on page 82 in the book "10 Shots Quick The Fascinating Story of the Savage Pocket Automatics", by Daniel K. Stern; is featured and pictured on page 25, "The Arms Gazette" magazine July 1979 issue and is also pictured and discussed on page 308 in the book "The Peace Maker Arms And Adventures In The American West" by R.L. Wilson. In addition this exquisite and extremely rare and historic pistol was on loan and display in the Buffalo Bill Museum, at the "Buffalo Bill Historical Center" in Cody Wyoming circa (1981-1983). Accompanying this pistol are several letters and ownership papers documenting its authenticity to include a copy of the Savage ledger book, showing this specific pistol having been shipped to Col. W.F. Cody on August 22, 1911 and marked as a "Spec Grade". R. L. Wilson further wrote that" the embellishments are superbly done, including the back strap inscription." Buffalo Bill's historic association with Bat Masterson, who promoted Savage pistols and the published endorsement of Buffalo Bill adds to the fascination. At the time of writing R.L. Wilson regarded the "Buffalo Bill Cody presentation Savage pistol as an extraordinary artifact of it's time and one of the most fascinating and historical pistols ever made." This is an extremely rare opportunity to own this rare, historic, engraved, presentation pistol once owned by one of the worlds greatest showmen, renowned marksman, pioneer hero and American folk legend, Buffalo Bill Cody. This historic pistol includes a period cabinet card photo of Colonel William "Buffalo Bill" F. Cody.
Excellent. This pistol retains 95% of the original factory high polish blue finish with wear on the muzzle and high edges with some minor surface blemishes and spotting. The casehardened trigger retains 80% of the vivid casehardened colors. All of the engraving and the inscription remain crisp as well as the standard markings. The grips are excellent with a few scattered minor nicks and scratches. An exceptionally rare, one of a kind, historic, factory engraved and inscribed Savage Automatic Pistol that is 100% original and impeccably documented to Buffalo Bill Cody. This is your chance to own an absolute Historic National Treasure -- one that you could enjoy, hold and appreciate without having to press your nose against cold museum display glass and wish you could be that fortunate.
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