Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1279: Buffalo Bill Cody Presentation Savage Model 1907 Pistol

Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Historic Documented "National Treasure" Factory Engraved and Inscribed Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol Presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by the Factory

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $60,000 - $90,000

Historic Documented "National Treasure" Factory Engraved and Inscribed Savage Model 1907 Semi-Automatic Pistol Presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by the Factory

Manufacturer: Savage Arms Corporation
Model: 1907
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 32 ACP
Barrel: 3.75 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: pearl
Item Views: 1109
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 226
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun

This pistol was obtained by Buffalo Bill Cody in August 1911 and is listed in the Savage factory records as a "32 Special Grade." It has exceptional, diminutive scroll engraving on the frame and slide, and the back strap is engraved with the inscription "COL. W.F.CODY". It is fitted with an original and very rare set of pearl grips that are smooth and flat to the frame and have steel center escutcheons with the "SA" monogram 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." 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’s 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 of "The Arms Gazette" July 1979 issue, and is also pictured and discussed on page 308 in the book "The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure 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. Also included are 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 "Buffalo Bill" Cody needs no introduction to any real American aficionado as his name and exploits are synonymous with the opening of the western frontier, his hunting exploits while employed by the railroads are famous, and he was responsible with the development and presentation of the first true Wild West 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 an early age, his family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. At the age of 12 in Leavenworth, he worked for a freight service (wagon train) and headed for Fort Laramie in Wyoming and crossed the frontier many times. In 1859, he left Wyoming and went to try his luck at gold prospecting in Colorado, but he did not fare well and 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 through the Civil War. In 1867, he began working for the Kansas Pacific Railroad as a scout and hunter. Over an 18 month period, he killed over 4,280 buffalo by his accounts. His one-day record was sixty-nine Buffalo shot in one day. The closest mounted contestant's record was only forty-six. In 1868, he again joined the U.S. Army as a 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 one of only four civilian scouts to ever actually earn this medal. It was presented by General Philip Sheridan of Civil War fame, and Sheridan later 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, and real Wild West cowboys and range hands as extras and stand-ins.

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally Fine. This pistol retains 75% plus 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 Semi-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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