I own a Colt Single Action Army revolver, 38/40 caliber, 7 1/2" barrel, manufactured in 1890 with stag grips and a sholder holster the purportely was the property of U.S. Marshal Fossett. It was sold in June or July 2006 at an Oklahoma gun show. I acquired it in August 2006 after having gone through two more hands. Trying to establish Fossett's ownership.
You might start with a historical letter from Colt firearms. The letters, while somewhat pricey $150.00 up, can establish where the revolver was shipped to originally and in what configuration it was shipped originally. If the revolver was shipped to a wholesale or retail outlet your next step would be to to backtrack previous owners and get notarized statements from each as to the revolver's provenance until you establish the link with the original owner. Occasionaly a weapon's serial number will be noted in early court documents but that is rare.
If the revolver has USM Fossett's name engraved on it that would be a plus toward est. his ownership at one time.
Unfortunatly there are hundreds of weapons and other items that are alleged to have belonged to noted figures with little or no documentation and then there are just plain old crooks out there who fake items and make up. stories.There is a fellow that sets up at the big Tulsa gun show that has tables full of fantasy items.This message has been edited. Last edited by: lawandorder,
"I wasn't but 145 pounds but I had a good pistol" T.W."Buckshot" Lane, Sheriff Warton County Texas
Lawandorder thank you for the information. Nothing from Colt, no engravings, and still unable to identify the Oklahoma seller that claims to have made the purchase from a Fossett family member
Hey, If you don't mind, I would like the man's name and your permission to contact him as I had checked with Jim Fullbright and he had told me that information.
j1, I have been in contact with Jim Fullbright, and his information pertaining to the Colt revolver was probably provided by me. The only person that I know regarding the sale of the Colt is the dealer in CA that made the purchase from the "picker" who purportley bought it from an unknown individual at an Oklahoma gun show. The unknown seller stated that it was purchased from a Fossett family member who said it was Bill Fossetts'. The CA dealer will not provide me the name of his "picker". I will give you the dealer's name if you think it will help.
Ownership of weapons are hard to prove unless they come with a group items that can be proven to have belonged to an individual. Such as oath of office, log book, badge, etc. When guns are obtained with items it easier to make a case. So many items are forged today you really have to be careful. Names etched into pistols and rifles are good, but most lawmen and outlaws didn't practice this procedure. So when you see it you have to be leary. Some officers received personalized guns from communities that rewarded them for service. Again this was not a very common practice but there are some guns of this type that exist. Most of the time it is almost impossible to prove anyone owned any particular rifle or pistol. Documented proof from a family member is one of the best methods of proving ownership with a group of items I listed above to collaborate identification.
I agree regarding proving the ownership of weapons. I have had no luck with obtaining letters from the manufacturers. I requested two of them about 15 years ago (one from Colt and one from Winchester) both of which confirmed the date of manufacture (which I already knew based on the serial numbers) and the buyer (which in both cases were large distributing houses in St. Louis). I did hear about one years ago which the Colt letter showed was purchased and mailed directly to Bat Masterson as a special order, but it seems these are the exception rather than the rule.
On the Trail
Secretary, Oklahombres Inc.
If it was owned by a DUSM, then it should show a lot of wear. These guns are like the guns that early Texas Rangers used and modern combat weapons from WWI and WWII. They are used heavily, broken, put back together (often in the field) and parts are interchanged a lot. I would look for that first.
A friend of mine from Skiatook Oklahoma owned that SAA lettered to Bat Masterson. I saw the letter. Jerry passed away a couple years ago so I can relate some specifics. the previous owner bought it unlettered for 10K since it was a nice engraved SAA. He lettered it. Came back to Masterson. Jerry bought for $110k. Kept it 90 days and sold it for $260k.
I have never had one letter to an individual. Most went to the big hardware stores (the Wal Mart of the day).
Point is if it doesnt letter, and there isnt sound provenance it is what it is. I have a pretty nice old 86 Winchester in 45-90. Barrel has been shortened to 20". It supposedly was cut down by the original owner who was a Texas Ranger for quicker handling. But value wise I have a butchered 1886.
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