Former President Theodore Roosevelt’s Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Single-Action Revolver sold for $910,625 at a December firearms auction.
The Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC) auctioned off the gun at its Dec. 9-11 Premier Firearms Auction. The revolver carried a pre-auction estimate of $800,000 to $1.4 million based on the December 2020 sale of Roosevelt’s Colt Single-Action Army Revolver for the latter price at another Rock Island auction.
The Smith & Wesson revolver comes with a factory letter confirming it was shipped to Roosevelt, according to the RIAC’s listing.
The time has come that we’ve all been waiting for. The December Premier Auction begins right NOW! Within the first 100 lots, this historic National Treasure goes up for auction: Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s S&W New Model No. 3 Single Action revolver. https://t.co/9adaZXEJXN pic.twitter.com/9D6laq909V
— Rock Island Auction (@RIAuction) December 9, 2022
“This is a crown jewel in fine arms collecting. Not only is it a rare chance to own a presidential firearm, but of a president who embodied the spirit of a nation. You don’t need to look further than Mt. Rushmore to understand his significance,” said RIAC President Kevin Hogan in a RIAC press release.
RIAC Interactive Production Manager Joel Kolander told the Daily Caller that Roosevelt’s revolver was the auction’s marquee item. It was sold within the auction’s first hour Friday after a bidding war between two attendees, he said. This large sale for a firearms auction was unthinkable a few years ago, Kolander added.
The Smith & Wesson was shipped to then-Lt. Col. Roosevelt on May 12., 1898, the same day he departed for San Antonio to train the Rough Riders, the famed American cavalry unit of the Spanish-American War.
It was known as his “nightstand gun” because Roosevelt placed it by his bedside every night in the White House, which allowed it to remain in pristine condition. (RELATED: Biden Admin Sued For Going After Gun Sellers)
Roosevelt intended to use the Smith & Wesson in the war against Spain, but opted for a Colt double-action revolver obtained from the wreckage of the U.S.S. Maine.
Rock Island obtained the revolver from an expert curator of the National Rifle Association’s National Firearms Museum, according to Kolander.
It was previously sold by descendants of James E. Amos, Roosevelt’s bodyguard and valet, who was gifted the revolver after Roosevelt’s death, documentation shows.
According to Amos’ book about Roosevelt, “while president, he often went armed. I have in my home now a large revolver that Mr. Roosevelt placed at the side of his bed every night while in the White House. It was given to me by Mrs. Roosevelt after his death.”
RIAC’s Premier Auction event yielded $18.3 million in sales, highlighted by auctions of historical firearms and other collectible antiques. The company anticipates its total auction sales for the year will exceed $107 million after its final auction of the year.