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    LOT 3231
Documented Colt Black Powder Acid
Etched Panel Frontier Six Shooter Single Action
Army Revolver Attributed as Belonging to Legendary
Silent Western Film Star William S. Hart with Factory Letter
and Affidavit - Serial no. 77601, 44-40 WCF cal., 7 1/2 inch round bbl., blue/
casehardened finish, stag grips. This black powder SAA revolver was once owned by
the legendary silent film era Western movie star William S. Hart (1864-1946). Known to
his fans as “Two Gun Bill,” Hart was one of the first and most famous of the silent film actors.
He starred in 69 films from 1914 to 1925 and created the archetype Western cowboy hero. He was
the type of actor who, as entertainment writer Susan King noted, “imbued all of his characters with honor and
integrity,” even when casted as a villain. National fame came when the Western “The Bargain” was released in
1914, his first leading role in a feature film. “The Bargain” was shot on location at the Grand Canyon and instantly
set the standard for the Western genre that still influences modern film making today. In 2010, “The Bargain”
was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. This was the second Hart western to earn
recognition from the National Film Registry. The first was “Hell’s Hinges” (1916), which has been considered one
of the finest Westerns of the silent film era. Leading man of the early Western films, Hart was “the original screen
cowboy” who personified the white hat Western hero that made a lasting mark on not only Hollywood but on the
perception of the Wild West and the American way. As the New York Herald put it, “William S. Hart is beginning to
typify certain things in the film world. He is ever stoical, slow to anger, but possessed of the powers of a hundred men
when aroused. He is a big, bluff, wholesome fellow, whose ideas are frequently a little peculiar, and he goes about matters
in exclusively his own way. But when the showdown arrives, depend upon it, William S. Hart will be found lined up on the side
of righteousness.” His first stage appearance was in 1889, and he quickly made a name for himself playing in Shakespearean plays. He was noticed by Hollywood after starring in a series of western productions. It was on the stage where Hart first portrayed the western hero, the type of character he perfected in Hollywood that made him a star and a household name. He went on to write and produce many of his films as well as directed a number of films. By the 1920s, his moralistic themed westerns fell out of favor with moviegoers, and his last film, “Tumbleweeds,” was released in 1925.
In the notarized certificate of authenticity Opal Montgomery explained the provenance of this historic piece of silent film history:
“Allen Warder Bailey, my grandfather, was given a 44-40 Colt single action pistol with serial number 7760, by my Mother, Edna Mae
Bailey. My Mother received the pistol from her good friend William S. Hart in 1928, at Newhall, California. After my grandfather passed
away, the pistol was in my possession until 1998. At that time, I gave it to my cousin, Charles L. Carlson as per Grandfather’s wishes.
Charles is now the owner of the pistol. This is a true and accurate account of Colt #77601.” In a period promotional still William Hart is in full cowboy regalia. Hanging off his hip is a holstered SAA fitted with a stag grip. As a stag stocked SAA, No. 77601 has the possibility of being the sidearm pictured with William Hart. The accompanying factory letter states the revolver was shipped on October 24, 1882 as part of a 50 gun shipment delivered to Hartley & Graham of New York City. The letter confirms the .44-40 caliber chambering with barrel length and type of stocks not listed, a common indication of a 7 1⁄2 inch barrel and hard rubber stocks which were standard for the time. The barrel has the highly desirable “COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER” in an etched panel on the left. Matching serial numbers are on the frame, trigger guard, back strap, cylinder, and barrel. Includes three VHS tapes of Hart’s movies (“Blue Blazes’ Rawden,” Tumbleweeds, and “Wagon Tracks), the books “My Life East & West” by Hart and “William S. Hart: Projecting the American West” by Ronald L. Davis, and nine original 11x14 inch movie lobby cards for Hart’s films (“The Apostle of Vengeance,”“Blue Blazes’ Rawden,” and “The Silent Man”).
CONDITION: Fine displaying authentic character of a well traveled Peacemaker, retaining 30% original blue finish strongest on, around and under the ejector rod housing, on the cylinder flutes, around the trigger, and on top and bottom of the back strap. The frame retains 40% original case colors with the strongest colors in the sheltered areas. The etched panel is legible. The grips are very fine. Action functions but hammer spring appears worn. A classic etched panel Colt Frontier Six Shooter Single Action Army revolver with authentic frontier appearance attributed to William S. Hart, the silent film actor who immortalized the Western hero.
Provenance: William S. Hart; Edna Mae Bailey and family.
Estimate: 5,000 - 7,500

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