Rare Opportunity: President And Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt’s Revolver Goes Up For Auction
Digitally restored vector artwork of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at the top of the hill which they captured, Battle of San Juan. Circa 1898.
Credit: John Parrot/Stocktrek Images.

A host of historic artifacts, including firearms linked to two presidents, are being sold this weekend, giving bidders the rare opportunity to own the gun of a former president.

The Illinois-based Rock Island Auction Company (RIA) is auctioning off a trove of historic guns, swords, and other items this weekend, including a factory-engraved Smith & Wesson Model No. 3 single-action revolver that belonged to former President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Any time you can have a Teddy Roosevelt item, he’s such a man of his times, it’s very exciting,” Joel Kolander, interactive production manager for RIA, told The Daily Wire. “I’ve been working for Rock Island Auction Company for ten years, I can count on one hand the amount of presidential-tied items that we have had.”

The revolver, which could go for up to $1.4 million or more, was shipped to Roosevelt just before he left the U.S. in 1898 to fight in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt did not end up using the gun during the war, instead carrying one that had been salvaged from the USS Maine. The Maine had exploded under mysterious circumstances, precipitating the war with Spain.

“It’s [in] remarkable condition,” Kolander said, “It’s almost fortunate that this revolver did not go off to war because there’s no way that it would have survived in the condition that it did.” The gun, which has been held in a private collection, was factory engraved by the Youngs, a family known at the time for their skill at engraving.

Photo Courtesy of the Rock Island Auction Company.

The auction company sold a gold hunting knife belonging to Roosevelt in 2016 for over $400,000. Kolander said one reason Roosevelt is still so popular is because he embodies American values like rugged individualism.

“For us as Americans or anyone who appreciates some of those traditional American values, Teddy Roosevelt is absolutely someone that’s going to appeal to them,” he said.

Another presidential-linked item at the auction is a Burnside Carbine that former President Abraham Lincoln presented in 1862 to John J. Crittenden, an influential Kentucky statesman who worked to keep Kentucky in the Union during the Civil War.

The gun, which had been kept by the descendants of Crittenden until 1992, is expected to go for between $100,000 and $300,000.

Other items available at the auction include the battle and dress swords of Brigadier General John W. M. Appleton, who was one of the white officers leading the 54th Massachusetts, the second African-American regiment during the Civil War. A sword belonging to Medal of Honor recipient and Gettysburg hero General Dan Sickles, expected to go for between $30,000 and $50,000, can also be purchased.

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