Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 271: Colt Single Action Army Revolver Attributed to Gratton Dalton

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Significant Colt Single Action Army Revolver Attributed to Gratton Dalton with Historic Dalton Gang Documents

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $15,000 - $25,000

Significant Colt Single Action Army Revolver Attributed to Gratton Dalton with Historic Dalton Gang Documents

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 Long Colt
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 1250
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 143
Class: Antique

This Colt Single Action Army revolver was manufactured in 1876. A statement that accompanies the revolver states that it was carried by Gratton Dalton in the disastrous double bank robbery in Coffeyville, Kansas, on October 5, 1892. The Dalton gang consisting of Bob, Emmett and Gratton Dalton and two other outlaws attempted to rob two banks simultaneously - in their own home town. Although they wore disguises, the Daltons were recognized. In the gun battle that followed the robbery Bob, Gratton, their two partners and four townsmen were killed. Emmett Dalton was badly wounded. The old, handwritten document that accompanies the revolver states that this revolver was owned and carried by "Grat" Dalton when he was killed in the Coffeyville bank robbery and that the revolver was given to Dr. W.H. Wells "for his service in keeping his brother Emmett alive for hanging which never came to pass". Included with the revolver is an original CDV by "C.G. Glass, Photographer, Coffeyville, Ks." that shows the four dead robbers. Research by Lee A. Silva discussed in the article "Dressed to Kill: The Guns Used by the Daltons at Coffeyville" from the WILD WEST magazine published in March 2007 discusses that the Dalton Gang was equipped with consecutive pairs of engraved and pearl handled Colt revolvers (none of which were apparently fired during the robberies or the shootout). The article also mentions that these 10 revolvers were part of a larger 15 gun shipment. The author had in his possession a blued Colt that had once belonged to Emmett Dalton and was used in the robberies prior to Coffeyville. Thus, this revolver may have been used in earlier raids and was possibly carried by "Grat" or packed on one of the horses during the raid. The revolver originally had a blue and casehardened finish and is fitted with a one-piece walnut grip. The barrel is roll-stamped with "-COLT'S PT.F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.-". The left side of the frame has the Colt two-date, two-line patent markings. "45 CAL" is stamped on the left shoulder of the trigger guard. The assembly number "2944" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate. The full serial number is stamped on the bottom of the frame, trigger guard and butt. The partial serial number "4029" is stamped on the side of the cylinder. All of the visible serial numbers match. An "H" inspection mark is stamped in the hammer well above the firing pin hole, and a small "C" is stamped on the face of the cylinder. The revolver is fitted with the correct "bulls eye" ejector rod head and hammer with elongated knurling on the spur. The historical notes concerning the revolver are written on the back of legal certification for a property transfer that took place in 1933. Provenance: The Dr. Robert Azar Collection

Rating Definition:

Fair. The revolver has been cleaned and touched up with cold blue with traces of period nickel plating remaining on the trigger guard and grip straps. The revolver has a gray-brown patina. There is light flash pitting on the cylinder flutes and faces and the front of the frame and forward portion of the top strap. There are some small dents in the top of the barrel to the right of the address. The markings show handling wear but are legible. The revarnished grip is in good condition with some minor dents and handling wear on the heels. The cylinder timing is a bit off, otherwise the revolver action is crisp and functions excellently. This is quite possibly a historic Colt Single Action Army Revolver reportedly used by outlaw Gratton Dalton in the famous Coffeyville, Kansas, double bank robbery. More research is needed in order to substantiate the documents. RIA does not guarantee this.

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