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LOT 1159
Historic San Francisco Agency Shipped Colt Bisley Model Single Action Revolver Attributed as a Gift from William “Buffalo Bill” Cody to His Friend C.L. Alexander with Factory Letter and Affidavit - Serial no. 219536, 41 Long Colt cal.,
5 1/2 inch round bbl., blue/casehardened finish, hard rubber grips. The accompanying factory letter from 1965 states the revolver was shipped to Colt’s San Francisco office, San Francisco, California, on January 15, 1902 as part of a five gun shipment with a 5 1⁄2 inch barrel in .41 caliber, blue finish and type of stocks not listed. Also with the revolver is a handwritten note explaining the provenance: “Harry-Artz-/This 41 Colt was given/ to your Grandfather by/Wm F. Cody-‘Buffalo Bill’/Mother & Dad.” In her provided March 1975 dated notarized affidavit relaying the family provenance of this revolver, Edna
W. Alexander provided additional information related to the aforementioned note
that she also quoted. She wrote: “The note was written somewhere in the 1945-1950 area by Harl Morris Alexander and was sent to his son, Harry Artz Alexander, who was my Husband and who died in 1965.” Harry’s grandfather was C.L. Alexander. This is confirmed in the May 14, 1930 edition of the Sun Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi): “Col. C.L. Alexander, Biloxian, pioneer of the west and prominent Mason, attended a meeting
of Gulfport Lodge of Mason this week to witness the first degree conferred upon his grandson, Harry Artz Alexander.” In a 1990 dated letter from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Curator Paul Fees confirms C.L. Alexander was acquainted with the famed Wild West showman Buffalo Bill: “Cody was associated in some way with a man named C.L. Alexander who also sometimes called himself Colonel. Alexander was said to have been a frontiersman, and he wore mustache and goatee much like Cody’s. In a 1926 interview at Hasting, Nebraska, he said he was born in Indiana in about 1854 and
moved to Nebraska in 1865.” At the Center is a photo of Alexander at Cody’s funeral
on January 14, 1917 and on the back “Cody’s double” is marked in pencil (https:// Buffalo Bill gained a following of impersonators both in life and in death, but Alexander was more than an imitator. He was Cody’s friend as confirmed by the August 17, 1911 edition of the Hasting Daily Tribune (Hastings, Nebraska): “C.L. Alexander, of this city, who looks more like ‘Buffalo Bill’ than any other man in the world, is one of the oldest and best friends Colonel Cody has. In the early days William F. Cody and C.L. Alexander rode the plains side by side, and it was then that a friendship sprung up. Colonel Cody never thinks of entering Nebraska without courting a visit from his old plains partner, C.L. Alexander, and Mr. Alexander never lets Colonel Cody come into the state without a greeting from him.” The revolver has standard Colt markings and matching serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard, and back strap. A second affidavit states M.D. Turner purchased this Bisley and Alexander family affidavit from Gene Bolen of Snyder, Texas, on August 20, 1989. Also with a period cabinet card of Buffalo Bill.
CONDITION: Fine displaying authentic character for a sidearm owned by frontiersman C.L. Alexander and carried on the Nebraska plains, retaining 40% original blue finish and 30% muted original case colors mostly visible in the protected areas. The well- worn period replacement grips show similar “working gun” character from spending decades in the hand. Mechanically excellent. An attributed Buffalo Bill gifted Colt Bisley revolver that has the fitting appearance of spending a lifetime on the Great Plains. Provenance: C.L. Alexander; C.L. Alexander Family; The Gene Bolen Collection; The M.D. Turner Collection; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 5,000 - 7,500

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