Lot 214

U.S. Colt 1873 SAA from 3rd Cavalry & Bull Bear

Estimate: $125,000 - $175,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
This is a phenomenal Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army martially stamped U.S. Ainsworth inspected serial number 3067 from circa 1874 revolver from the U.S. 3RD Cavalry captured by Hunkpapa Lakota Bull Bear at Rosebud and used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The revolver was inspected by historian Wendell Grangaard of The Guns of History and found to be marked in Togia. The revolver is marked in Togia on the left grip with the name Bull Bear Hunkpapa along with the name Day Break (illustration 1). On the left side of the frame is marked Bull Bear Hunkpapa and Day Break again along with three battle marks (illustration 2), Bull Bear Hunkpapa and Day Break are also written on the right grip (illustration 3). Also marked on the right of the frame with the same and on the bottom of the frame and the bottom of the grips with the same (illustration 4 and 5). Bull Bear was born in 1858 and was the grandson of Chief Bull Bear who was killed in 1841 in a dispute with Chief Old Smoke. Bull Bear joined Gall’s Band of Hunkpapa and was a scout. Gall and Bull Bear left the Standing Rock Reservation in the winter of 1875-1876 to join Sitting Bull at his Powder River camp. By Jun 1876 Sitting Bull, Gall and Bull Bear with their bands were camped on the Rosebud River and on June 17, 1876 Captain Anson Mills and six troops of the U.S. 3rd Cavalry attacked the Sioux. According to family testimony Bull Bear had one of the fastest horses in Gall’s band and he rode at retreating soldiers and pulled the soldier’s revolver from him, a great coup. This revolver, Serial Number 3067, is believed to be that revolver. Bull Bear carried the revolver throughout the rest of the Indian Wars, including in the Battle of the Little Bighorn / Battle of Greasy Grass. Day Break was a Hunkpapa gunsmith and a member of Gall’s band with Bull Bear. He likely repaired this revolver and therefore marked it in the Togia tradition. Later Bull Bear followed Gall into Canada and surrendered at Fort Buford on May 26, 1881. Gall, Bull Bear and his band were taken down river on steamers to the Standing Rock Agency where Bull Bear settled near Gall on Oak Creek in present day Wakpala, South Dakota. The revolver is marked on the left side of the frame, “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 PAT. JULY, 2, 1872 U.S.”. Faint Colt line marked on the top of the barrel. Marked “A” on the bottom of the barrel and on the cylinder “A” along with the serial number of “3067” and “P”. The revolver was inspected by Ordnance Sub-inspector Orville W. Ainsworth. The bottom of the frame’s serial numbers are worn off. The revolver was manufactured in 1874 and is a very early rare example which was issued to the U.S. 3rd Cavalry and captured by Bull Bear with accompanied paperwork. Antique Firearm.