Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 243: Rough Rider US Colt Artillery Model Single Action Army Revolver

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Historic Documented U.S. Colt Single Action Artillery Model Revolver Issued to Pvt. Horton A. Bennett of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, Theodore Roosevelt's Famous "The Rough Riders," with Factory and Kopec Letters and Case

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

Historic Documented U.S. Colt Single Action Artillery Model Revolver Issued to Pvt. Horton A. Bennett of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, Theodore Roosevelt's Famous "The Rough Riders," with Factory and Kopec Letters and Case

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 LC
Barrel: 5 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/nickel
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1771
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 186
Class: Antique

The Rough Riders, officially the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, are the most famous of all U.S. units from the Spanish-American War and are particularly well-known for being led by future president Theodore Roosevelt during their charge up Kettle Hill during the Battle of San Juan Hill. The letter from John Kopec and included National Archives letter indicates this revolver is recorded as issued to the "1st U.S.V. Cavalry" on June 20, 1898 and then issued to Private Horton A. Bennett of Tularosa, New Mexico Territory. Bennett transferred from Troop H to Troop I of the Rough Riders on May 12, 1898. He was a 27 year old cowboy born in Jack County, Texas. He mustered out at Camp Wikoff on Long Island on July 31, 1898. Bennet was also issued a Krag carbine (sn 27044) that was later sold out of the Raritan Arsenal in 1922. Copies of his muster rolls are included. This revolver was originally manufactured in 1874 and is identified in the included factory letter using the frame serial number as one of 400 refurbished by Colt and delivered to the inspector at the factory on January 31, 1896. It was converted from a "Cavalry Model" to an "Artillery Model" at that time by fitting a 5 1/2 inch barrel in place of the original 7 1/2 inch barrel. While most of the revolvers refurbished by Colt retained matching serial numbers, like most of the converted revolvers, the serial numbers are mixed on this revolver. Kopec theorized the revolver may have been refurbished a second time following its use by the Rough Riders, possibly at the Manila Arsenal which would explain the mixed numbers and possibly the blued finish on the frame. He suspected the barrel was replaced again at a later date. It has a partial serial number starting with "1" and probably ending in "3" or "8." No address is visible on top, and a "P" is on the bottom. Kopec believes this barrel came of another 1896 Colt refurbished revolver. The frame is numbered "4238" and has the two-line patent marking and "U.S." on the left side. The trigger guard is also from an 1874 manufactured Cavalry Model and has "4041" and a small "A" sub-inspection mark from Ainsworth. Kopec indicates the nearest revolver in the National Archive records was issued to Company C of the 8th Cavalry. The cylinder appears to have the partial serial number "377" or "877" and a "P" proof. Kopec noted the small locking notches suggest it was probably off an 1873 or 1874 production Cavalry revolver. The back strap has no visible markings. The hammer is from c. 1906-1910. The grip has "1901" on the left and Rinaldo A. Carr and Odus C. Horney cartouches. The custom display case has a H.W. Sakschek collection seal and display label noting the use by Bennet inside the lid, a "U.S." marked compass, U.S. medal, key hanging from a chain on a Theodore Roosevelt medallion, cartridge block with six cartridges, and an L-shaped screwdriver. Provenance: The Buckstix Collection

Rating Definition:

Good. The barrel has traces of nickel plating and blue finish. The frame retains 90% of the period refinished blue. 25% of the similar blue remains on the front strap around the trigger guard, and there are some traces in sheltered areas of the cylinder and back strap. The balance has mostly smooth gray and brown patina. There are some patches of minor pitting. The hammer and some of the bolt screw are later replacements. The undersized grip is also good and has moderate scrapes and dings, a faint but visible cartouche, some chips at the corners, and a dark oiled finish. Mechanically fine. This is great chance to get your hands on an identified Colt Single Action Army used by one of Roosevelt's Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War!

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