Rare 1847 Colt Whitneyville-Walker Pistol
The ‘Rare 1847 Colt Whitneyville-Walker Pistol’ is a gun designed and created in 1847 - a collaboration between Samuel Colt and Captain Samuel Walker.1

The makers

Samuel Colt (1814-1862) was an American inventor and industrialist, who founded Colt’s Manufacturing Company, a producer of firearms. His work is said to have “shaped the destiny of American Firearms”.2

Samuel Hamilton Walker (1817-1847) was an American military officer, most notably a Texas Ranger. He served several conflicts, including the Mexican-American war.

The gun

'Rare 1847 Colt Whitneyville-Walker Pistol'
'Rare 1847 Colt Whitneyville-Walker Pistol'

The pistol, “serial number 210”,3 is a single-action revolver, which holds six charges of black powder behind six bullets.4

The large size and weight of the pistol prompted Samuel Colt to state that "it would take a Texan to shoot it." Only 1100 were ever produced and was the “most powerful handgun in the world … until the advent of the .44 Magnum in about 1954.”

It was issued in 1847 at Vera Cruz, to Private Sam Wilson (a Texas Ranger) for use in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848),5 whose name is “crudely scratched” onto the trigger guard.

After Wilson was killed, the pistol was obtained Brevet Major General John Reese Kenly of Maryland.

Thought to be “the finest example of a Martial Walker extant”, the pistol retains “an extraordinary amount of original finish that is a rarity in and of itself”.

Described as “legendary” and an “historic treasure”, the pistol was previously “almost unknown and never photographed or offered at public sale.”

It is “the most important and original martial Walker known to … exist” because of its “extraordinary condition” and “impeccable provenance”.

Record Sale

On 5th October 2008, the pistol was sold for $920,000 at the James D. Julia auction house, Maine, within the estimate of $500,000-1,000,000.6

The pistol’s sale broke the world record for the most expensive single firearm sold at auction.

The pistol was sold on behalf of John McBride (who claimed to have never fired it) to an anonymous bidder.7

See also

Main article: Antique & vintage firearms
Main article: Colt firearms
Main article: list of notable militaria

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