An historic Smith & Wesson No. 2 Old Model Army revolver owned by Wild Bill Hickok
Lot 4136ANTIQUE
An historic Smith & Wesson No. 2 Old Model Army revolver owned by Wild Bill Hickok
and carried by him when he was slain by the coward Jack McCall in Deadwood
US$ 300,000 - 500,000
£180,000 - 300,000
Lot Details
An historic Smith & Wesson No. 2 Old Model Army revolver owned by Wild Bill Hickok
and carried by him when he was slain by the coward Jack McCall in Deadwood
Serial no. 29963 for 1864, .32 Rimfire. 6 inch barrel. Blued finish. Varnished rosewood grips. Together with an extensive provenance file including: 1) Photocopies of numerous reference works stating that Hickok was carrying a Smith & Wesson No. 2 when he was killed. 2) Photocopy of pertinent pages from Ed McGivern's book Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting, in which he details his visit to Deadwood in 1932 to research Wild Bill's guns. He states: One of his guns, a Smith & Wesson, is in possession of Mrs. Hazel Willoth, nee Fishel (City Treasurer of Deadwood)... The gun was given to Mr. Willoth by Seth Bullock, and further: The Willoth gun is quite generally established as being one of Wild Bill's guns, and all reports seem to support such claim quite convincingly. 3) A notarized statement from Mrs. Leona H. Arder detailing how the revolver was given to her father, Leo Zymetzke, by JoAnn Willoth, Hazel Willoth's daughter in 1972. JoAnn Willoth had become friends with Mr. Zymetzke when they were both employed in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. In 1972, as she had no remaining family she decided to give the gun to Mr. Zymetzke and his family. 4) Photocopies of other documents including Hazel and JoAnn Willoth's death certificates, both from Cook County, Illinois; a Smith & Wesson factory letter for no. 29963; a statement of Mr. Zymetzke's employment at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, etc.
Condition: Very good. Barrel with smooth grey patina showing traces of blued finish. Cylinder and frame retain perhaps 80% dark blue finish. Barrel with cracks and slight bulges on either side in front of breech, probably from later use of smokeless ammunition. Excellent grips.
See Illustration

Footnotes

  • Note: James Butler Hickok, aka Wild Bill, 1837-1876, is without doubt one of the most iconic figures of the Old West. As a lawman, gunfighter and scout, his reputation as possibly the finest shot with a handgun was known far and wide. On August 2, 1876, while playing poker at the Number 10 Saloon in Deadwood, holding the infamous 'Dead Man's Hand' of aces and eights, he was murdered by Jack McCall. Seth Bullock had arrived in Deadwood the previous day and was made sheriff shortly thereafter. As was common at this time, it is quite likely that the deceased Hickok's effects were held by the sheriff's office.
    Germane to the question of the gun's provenance is a conversation that JoAnn Willoth had with the Zymetzke family, when she decided to give them the gun, in which she recalled that Adolph Fishel, Emil Willoth's father-in-law had founded a stationery, tobacco and sundries store with his brother Max, later known as Fishel's Bazaar, in Deadwood in 1876. According to family history, Wild Bill had run up a tab at the store before he was killed and the Smith & Wesson was given by Sheriff Bullock as reimbursement for the tab.
Activities
Contacts
  1. James Ferrell
    Specialist - Arms and Armor
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
    Work +1 415 503 3332
    FaxFax: +1 415 861 0183
  2. Paul Carella
    Specialist - Arms and Armor
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
    Work +1 415 503 3360
    FaxFax: +1 415 861 0183
  3. David Geiger
    Specialist - Arms and Armor
    Bonhams
    Work
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
    Work +1 415 503 3331