Guns are one of the most polarizing inventions in the history of man, but there is no denying that they have helped shape the direction of the world, from their use in fighting wars to the assassination of world leaders, one cannot deny their historical value. As a result, guns and firearms are some of the most expensive things ever sold at an auction, with a few of them selling for several millions of dollars.
We decided to take a look at some of these guns, including the amount at which they were sold, the history behind the gun, and when applicable, the person(s) who bought the gun.
Most Expensive Guns and Firearms Ever Auctioned
1. Big Bang Pistol Set – $4.5 million
The Big Bang Pistol set is the only gun that made in modern times that makes this list of the most expensive guns and firearms ever sold at an auction. While the gun itself does not possess a historical value yet, the raw material used in manufacturing the gun does.
The Big Bang Pistol set is made of meteorite, believed to be more than 4.5 billion years old. The guns were manufactured by Cabot Guns and were sold in auction in 2016 for $4.5 million.
Although it hasn’t been used in committing a major crime or used in changing the course of human history, the aesthetically pleasing gun was well-loved by gun enthusiasts when it was put up for auction by the company, which is why it sold for $4.5 million even though the starting bid was $1 million.
As for the identity of the buyer, Cabot Guns has chosen to keep their identity anonymous.
2. George Washington’s Saddle Pistols – $1.9 million
The history of guns in America is very integral to the shaping of the country itself, as many of its battles and wars have been fought on the strength of the country’s gun collection.
In that history is George Washington, the man who used his guns to fight for the independence of the United States from the British and became the first President of the new country. His guns, the saddle pistols, which were a gift from the Marquise de Lafayette, are one of the most significant guns in human history, which is why it is not surprising that they sold for $1.9 million when they came up for auction in 2002.
The guns, which are well over 240 years old, were bought by the Richard King Mellon Foundation in a Christie’s auction and were donated to the Fort Ligonier Museum in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
As for the condition of the guns, they are still in very good shape.
3. Simon Bolivars’ Flintlock Pistols – $1.6 million
These pistols sold for exactly $1,687,500 in Christie’s auction in 2004, and as of today, they are the third most expensive guns and firearms ever sold at an auction.
The pistols were the property of Simon Bolivar, a Venezuelan politician and military leader who helped in the liberation of several South America countries from the Spanish Empire. Simon Bolivar, with these pistols, is credited for playing a major role in securing the freedom of countries like Ecuador, Peru, Columbia, Panama, and his native Venezuela.
Simon Bolivar also played a role in establishing a union of the independent nations of Latin America, eventually becoming its president, a feat that has left a lasting impact on the modern world to date.
Also, the fact that Simon Bolivar was an avid gun collector and these pistols were one of the finest guns in collection helped them achieve their significant price at auction. The guns are expected to fetch a higher price when next they show up in an auction.
4. Gold-Inlaid Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver – $1.1 million
Unlike some of the guns in this list, who derive their value from the original user, the gold-inlaid colt model pocket revolver makes this list because of its place in the history of guns and their development.
The fourth most expensive gun or firearm ever sold in an auction fetched $1.1 million when it was put up for auction. The Pocket Revolver was made as a follow up to the Colt Paterson, which is one of the earliest guns designed for ease of carrying.
This particular one fetched the huge price not just because of the design but also the artistic elements of the gun, which include gold inlays that were designed on the gun’s handle and barrel.
5. Colt Paterson Revolver – $977,500
If its design offspring fetched $1.1 million, it is no surprise that the original came pretty close at $977,500. A gun that wouldn’t look out of place in a Western or the CW show, Supernatural, it is historically considered one of the best guns ever made.
It is the first repeating pistol ever designed and sent into commercial production, laying the groundwork for the emergence of automatic firearms years later.
The .44 weapon spent little time in production, and thus, aside from its historical significance, it also has rarity going for it, resulting in its sale for almost $1 million to an anonymous buyer.
6. Texas Rangers Sam Wilson’s Colt Walker – $920,000
Just behind the Paterson Revolver is this Texas Ranger’s gun, which was one of the licensed official guns by officers of the law back in the wild wild west.
A .44 caliber gun, the Colt Walker was one of the most exclusive and elegant guns at the time, which is why only the best rangers at the time were given the gun. The gun was capable of shooting two different kinds of bullets, a 220-grain bullet or a .44 caliber roundball.
This particular gun was used by San Wilson, who is considered one of the best Texas Rangers ever and combined with the fact the gun is still in near-perfect condition, it fetched almost a million at an auction.
7. Teddy Roosevelt’s Shotgun – $862,500
On its own, the double-barrelled shotgun does not carry as much weight in the history of guns, but at the hands of Teddy Roosevelt, it became one of the most coveted guns by gun enthusiasts.
Known to be an ideal man, Teddy Roosevelt built a reputation for being one of the most beloved politicians in US history and has been studied by several aspiring and career politicians, even to this day.
Because he was a man who enjoyed the outdoors, Teddy was often seen with this gun, which over time, became as iconic as himself. He used the gun for hunting, and he took it with him on the African Safari Tour in 1909, which is where it first achieved its legend.
The gun has been sold repeatedly over the years, first by the Roosevelt family in 1974, but it wasn’t until 2010 that it sold for $862,500, booking its place among the most expensive guns and firearms ever sold at an auction.
8. The Gun That Killed Jesse James – $350,000
Sometimes a gun attains its high financial value not because of the person behind the gun but the person in front of it. This .44 Caliber Smith & Wesson gun owes its importance to Jesse James, one of the most famous thieves in history, known to have terrorized the south while he was alive.
A former Confederate soldier, Jesse James was a prominent figure in the historical life of Southern America, and even though his life is still celebrated in certain parts of the South to this day, his death brought satisfaction and peace to an unsettled region.
He was shot by one of his gang members who sought to collect the bounty placed on his head by the government. The gun that did the deed was sold in 2003 in an auction for $350,000 to, as you probably guessed, an anonymous bidder.
9. Wyatt Earp’s Colt .45-caliber Revolver – $225,000
The popularity of gunfights, as portrayed by Hollywood in several Western films and TV shows, is not just a fiction concocted by the world’s leading entertainment industry but a reflection of the region’s love for gun violence. Wyatt Earp, a deputy sheriff who worked in Tombstone, Arizona, led one of the infamous shootouts to happen in the region.
During the shootout, which is infamously known as The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp and three other lawmen killed three outlaws in 30 seconds, using the .45 Colt Revolver.
Owning an important piece of gunfight history was a thing of pride for the Earp family, which is why it was passed down from each generation until it ended up in an auction, where it sold for $225,000.
10. Hitler’s Golden Walther PP – $114,000
It wouldn’t be a complete list of the most expensive guns and firearms to ever sell at auction if it did not include the gun used by the man who committed one of the greatest acts of violence in human history.
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The ‘Fuhrer’s Golden Gun’ was a gift to Adolf Hitler on the 50th birthday by the Walther Family. The gun was inlaid with gold and bore his initials.
It was considered one of the favorite things owned by Adolf Hitler, and he kept it in his desk drawer in his Munich Apartment. Aside from being owned by the Fuhrer, it is also believed it is the gun that he used in committing suicide.
The gun was brought up for auction in 1987 and sold for $114,000, which at the time, made it the most expensive amount ever paid for a gun at an auction. Today, it will have to settle for 10th place.