Handguns 1851 Navy Colt (Engraved FRANK JAMES)

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Rusk County Avengers

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Somehow I get the feeling that the signature is fake, kinda like the Austrian M1849 I recently got that's marked "CSA".

There are a ton of fake guns related to the James-Younger Gang, heck Frank and Jesse's Mother was infamous for selling any old revolver or shotgun to gullible tourists as Jesse's favorite gun. Bob Ford also marked numerous guns as the one he shot Jesse with and would sell them for back-then large amounts.
 
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archieclement

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I've said here many times before, Frank was known to buy up old guns CHEAP then palm them off to the unsuspecting as HIS GUN.
But if he owned it, it WAS HIS gun. There's nothing false or misleading to the provenance in that case, unless one is claiming its linked to a specific robbery or shooting...…..

In a case like James boys, they were known to carry upwards to 10 revolvers during the war, and would be forced to leave some behind when jumped, throw away during fights, to simply replace later with other captured/stolen arms...Not to mention followed by a 17 year outlaw career...the numbers of guns that passed through his or Jesse's hands would be considerable, and almost impossible to document the majority of them's provenance or being linked to any specific act, anymore then any he bought and sold post outlaw
 
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archieclement

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Patrick H

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I think the overall condition of the revolver is very nice. I am highly skeptical of a Frank James ownership. It's a heck of a conversation starter, though. On those grounds, and on the condition, I'd be super proud to own it.
 

7thWisconsin

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Frank lived a long time, and was himself a tourist attraction at the family homestead. He charged .50 a head for tours. It would not surprise me if he had old revolvers engraved to sell as souvenirs either. After the war, he was a Remington fan and wrote a letter commending the pistol to the gunmaker. Frank and Cole Younger were quite the old showmen.
 
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Tut11

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Very nice, might want to see who were the owners of the house and when it was built. Might not be a bad place for metal detecting also...who knows.
 

James N.

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But if he owned it, it WAS HIS gun. There's nothing false or misleading to the provenance in that case, unless one is claiming its linked to a specific robbery or shooting...
If it truly did belong to Frank James. I am skeptical: is there any information establishing provenance?
I think the overall condition of the revolver is very nice. I am highly skeptical of a Frank James ownership. It's a heck of a conversation starter, though. On those grounds, and on the condition, I'd be super proud to own it.
Frank lived a long time, and was himself a tourist attraction at the family homestead... It would not surprise me if he had old revolvers engraved to sell as souvenirs either. After the war, he was a Remington fan and wrote a letter commending the pistol to the gunmaker. Frank and Cole Younger were quite the old showmen.

I'll repeat a horror story I've mentioned here before: A year or two ago I was wandering through the wooded section of my favorite HUGE indoor/outdoor regional monthly flea market when I saw one of the regular dealers' setup. He had original 1850's Remington and Colt 1860 Army .44's, each for around $500, an obvious bargain. The trouble was, each had been deeply stamped, I think on the barrels, COLE YOUNGER and JESSEE JAMES! The appearance was not at all different from the marking on ths gun, other than the location. He said someone had already bought the other Younger brother's Remington and was keeping the 1860 Colt Army FRANK JAMES for himself! Sadly, these were absolutely original guns that had been defaced by some idiot "collector" at some unknown time in the past, likely in the 1950's when you could pick up guns like this for $100-$150 or so. And of course, @archieclement you know what I meant!
 
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BigMuddy

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Provenance on these guns in near to impossible to provide. I personally doubt that any of the guerrilla's carved their names into their guns. As stated they were known to carry a lot of handguns, preferring them to long guns. They usually carried sacks of guns across the pommels of their saddles. I once got to hold an 1858 Remington owned by a collector that said it belonged to William Anderson. Maybe it did...... This gun had a W carved in the stock with a bar in the middle forming an A. He also showed me a carved diamond with a cross in the middle on the right stock panel. He told me this was a mark that the guerrillas used to identify their weapons. Never have read or heard anything about that to say its true. Interesting though none the less. This guy did have an amazing collection of firearms from the war as well as the frontier era.

Still while it is usually not possible to prove a gun did belong to Frank James, it's hard to prove it didn't. There have been guns sold as being Jesse's that were manufactured after his death however.

It was a known tactic of the guerrillas to raid a town and simply drop empty guns and draw another loaded one. After the fight was over they would retrieve guns. Several years ago an 1860 Army Colt was dug up near the RR tracks in Fayette MO. It was believed to be one of these dropped guns from the failed raid by Anderson's men on the town of Fayette. Probably were not able to go back and retrieve anything after that one! Frank James once stated that the only time he was truly scared was at Fayette.

Dan
 
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Story

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Unfortunately there is the possibility that hundreds of guns owned not by Jesse, but by his mother Zerelda Samuel (she had remarried after Jesse was born), were passed on long after Jesse’s death. Ever the shrewd marketer, Zerelda frequently passed on any number of revolvers, shotguns, and rifles with handwritten notes vouching them to be ‘my son Jesse’s gun’. Unlike her son, she lived a long a healthy life. Dying at age 86 in 1911, her obituary stated, ‘considering the thrilling vicissitudes of her life, she was exceptionally well preserved and was in fairly good possession of all her faculties.”

Indeed, she even passed on a number of guns manufactured even after Jesse’s death with no doubt a straight face and a sly grin.


https://www.guns.com/2014/04/03/guns-jesse-james-mother-videos/
 
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