Wild Bill Hickok's revolver to auction for $500,000 with Bonhams?

On November 18 in San Francisco, Bonhams will auction Old West legend Wild Bill Hickok's Smith & Wesson No. 2 revolver.

Wild Bill Hickok revolver Smith & Wesson No. 2
The motive behind Wild Bill's murder is not clear, yet McCall stated it was revenge for the lawman killing his brother some years earlier

The revolver is valued at $300,000-500,000 as a testament to lawman Wild Bill's reputation as possibly the finest shot with a handgun of his time.

The exciting consignment is further enhanced by supporting documents that suggest the Smith & Wesson No. 2 was with Hickok when he was murdered by Jack McCall on August 2, 1876.

The assassination is legendary, with Hickok shot while playing a game of poker in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, still holding the infamous Dead Man's Hand of aces and eights. He has since been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Bill's large nose and protruding upper lip led to people calling him 'Duck Bill' - presumably not to his face

The pistol itself is a .32 rimfire with a six inch barrel, with a blued finish and varnished rosewood grips. An extensive file of documents backs its provenance, including an excerpt from Ed McGivern's book Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting, in which he 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."

The gun was passed down through the Willoth family of Deadwood to the present owner's father.

Also featuring in the Arms & Armour auction will be the collection of Clark R Hoffman, which comprises nearly 100 British military pistols from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as a group of 16th and 17th century armour and helmets.

At Guernsey's recent Harrisburg Auction, which saw a huge array of Old West memorabilia on offer, Wild Bill's knife achieved a 250% increase on estimate to sell for $14,000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles is offering a superb autographed note from fellow sharpshooter Annie Oakley for sale, which is framed and accompanied by an image of "Little Sure Shot".


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