San Francisco—In its November 18 Antique Arms & Armor and Modern Sporting Guns Auction, Bonhams is pleased to offer a Smith & Wesson No. 2 revolver owned by Wild Bill Hickok that was on him when he was murdered by Jack McCall in Deadwood in 1876.
Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickok), 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 the time, it is quite likely that the deceased Hickok's effects were held by the sheriff's office.
The revolver being offered by Bonhams, estimated at $300,000-500,000, is a fascinating historic piece in .32 rimfire, with a 6 inch barrel, blued finish and varnished rosewood grips, and serial no. 29963. It is on offer with an extensive file of documents backing its provenance, including photocopied reference works stating it is well known that Hickok was carrying a Smith & Wesson No. 2 when he was killed; a photocopy of pertinent pages from Ed McGivern's book "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting," in which McGivern details his visit to Deadwood in 1932 to research Wild Bill's guns, at which time he saw this gun and notes "The Willoth gun is quite generally established as being one of Wild Bill's guns, and all reports seem to support such claim convincingly;" and photocopies of various documents about how the gun was passed down through the Willoth family of Deadwood to the present owner's father.
Also included in the November sale, Bonhams Arms & Armor Department is pleased to offer the collection of the late Clark R. Hoffman, comprising nearly 100 examples of British military pistols, spanning the 18th and 19th centuries. With many rarely seen types represented, it is sure to garner a lot of interest. The collection also includes an interesting group of 16th and 17th century armor and helmets.
For more information on the sale, or to view or purchase an illustrated auction catalog, please visit www.bonhams.com/auctions/21020/.
Auction Preview: November 15-17, San Francisco
Auction: November 18, San Francisco
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com