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DOCUMENTED COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER SURRENDERED BY ROBERT LEROY PARKER AKA BUTCH CASSIDY. SN 158402. Cal. 45 Colt. Nickel finish with 4-3/4″ bbl, slightly altered front sight and 2-line address with caliber marking on left side. Left side of frame has 2-line 3-patent dates and rampant Colt in a broken circle. Mounted with very worn rampant Colt eagle hard rubber grips. Accompanied by a tooled single loop black leather high rise belt holster with thumb strap marked on the back “A.W. BRILL / MAKER / AUSTIN, TEX.” Mr. Brill was in business in Austin 1887-1911. Also accompanied by a Colt factory letter identifying this revolver in caliber 45 with 4-3/4″ bbl, nickel finish and rubber grips shipped to J.F. Schmelzer & Sons, Leavenworth, Kansas on Jan. 30, 1895 in a shipment of five guns. The fact that this revolver was shipped to the Schmelzer Company is very important in that they were the only suppliers to the Ashley Hardware Store in Vernal, Utah which was the “gateway” to the Robbers’ Roost frequented by the “Wild Bunch” which included Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid. The timing of the manufacture and delivery of this revolver is significant in that this was almost exactly the same time that Butch Cassidy was sentenced to the Wyoming State Penitentiary in July 1894 and was released after only 1-1/2 years which would have been in late 1895. The inside of the right grip is hand scratched “22-148” or “22-14.8” and “213”. An account in a letter by someone acquainted with Butch Cassidy said that he referred to the grip as his “bank” which has led to endless speculation as to where a hoard of stolen loot may be buried or hidden. Robert LeRoy Parker was born April 13, 1866 in Beaver, Utah and grew up on a small ranch in Circle Valley, Utah and growing up was called “LeRoy” then later “Bob”. In 1884 when he was 18 he left home bound for Colorado and it was shortly after that he fell in with some bad characters and began what would become a legendary life of robbing banks, stagecoaches and trains. Although Cassidy was suspected of many crimes and charged with a few it wasn’t until the 1894 conviction for stealing a horse that he was sentenced to jail for the only time in his life. The gang he supposedly led and ran with made their headquarters in Brown’s Park, Utah, and in the maze of canyons in the mountains known as Robbers’ Roost the nearest settlements to Brown’s Park was Vernal, Utah and Rock Springs, Wyoming was 75 miles while Hahn’s Peak, Colorado, was nearly 100 miles. It is very logical then to assume that when Butch Cassidy was released from prison that he would head back to Utah and likely would have stopped at the hardware store in Vernal where he purchased this single action Colt. There are numerous reports, some of which accompany this revolver, from associates and people who were personally acquainted with Butch Cassidy who relate that he wore his nickel plated Colt in a shoulder holster under his coat giving credence to the fact that the grips on this revolver are worn equally, left & right, whereas most Colts that were worn in a hip holster show wear primarily on the outside grip, which, in most cases is the right side. A letter relating a conversation with Charlie Hanks relates that when he was about 12 or so he saw Butch Cassidy wearing a nickel plated Colt in a shoulder holster under his vest and he specifically remembered the eagles on the grips. Once Mr. Cassidy, who occasionally called himself George Cassidy, returned to Utah and Brown’s Park and Robbers’ Roost he resumed his old acquaintances and returned to the outlaw trail. He is documented to have been involved in several bank robberies until 1901 when he, Harry Longabaugh (Sundance Kid) and Longabaugh’s lady friend, Etta Place, departed for Argentina. Apparently intending to “go straight” they began ranching in Cholilo, Province of Chubut, Argentina in Oct. 1901. Apparently ranching in Argentina was not very successful and he & Sundance went to work for a tin mine somewhere about 1908 where they worked until about 1909. This was about the time that Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid were allegedly killed by a squad of Bolivian soldiers after having allegedly robbed the tin company payroll. Butch Cassidy’s sister, Lula Parker Betenson, in her book Butch Cassidy, My Brother, a copy of which accompanies this revolver, states that in 1925 while she was at her home in Circleville, Utah, her brother Mark, who had been fixing fence out at their ranch, drove in with someone in a new black Ford touring car. She states that when the other person dismounted from the car she saw that it was her brother “Bob” who her father called “LeRoy” when he introduced the stranger. She states that it was her brother, Robert LeRoy Parker who had finally come home for a visit. She relates that he told her that after he & Sundance were supposedly killed in Bolivia and that they had planned to leave South America anyway, they decided to split up and meet later. Robert related that he was stung by a scorpion and his leg swelled up so that he couldn’t travel and it was several weeks before he was able to leave and had missed his rendezvous with Sundance and didn’t see him again for many years until much later in Mexico when Etta Place approached him in a bar in Mexico City when Etta Place approached him and invited him over to their house for a visit which was the last time he saw the Sundance Kid. Mrs. Betenson relates that when Robert was asked about the men who were killed in Bolivia by the soldiers he related that the bodies were identified by Mr. Percy Seibert who was the boss at the tin mine and whose life Robert said that he had saved on more than one occasion. She relates that Robert figured that Mr. Siebert had done them a favor because they had both related how they wanted to go straight and figured that Mr. Siebert was giving them a chance. In late 1899 Butch Cassidy, tiring of the outlaw trail and learning that there was a possibility of a pardon, approached Sheriff Parley P. Christensen, the Sheriff of Juab County, Utah (1897-1904). As a token of good faith Cassidy turned over this revolver and a Winchester carbine to Sheriff Christensen which is documented on a “Justice’s Docket” form dated Jan. 2, 1900. The name on the docket is George Lee Roy Parker. A note on the bottom of the form states “Returned evidence to Nephi this date. Submitted in good faith, Colt 158402 and Winch. 44-40 carbine rifle 64876 turned in by Sheriff Parley Christensen / no action / picked up by Geo. Evans Nephi January 2, 1900.” A notation on the right side of the form states “Go to Salt Lake with Sheriff Christensen to see Powers and Governor.” Also accompanying is a very old manila tag with cord which is only partially legible and appears to read “10-20-1899—P.P. Christenson / Cassidy Colt 158402 / Winch. Carb 64875” and what appears to be a signature below. It was after this incident where Gov. Wells declined to pardon Butch Cassidy that he returned to the outlaw trail. The volume of research compiled by E. Dixson Larson of Orem, Utah is enormous and far too voluminous to include in this catalog. There have been numerous accounts written about Butch Cassidy’s life and demise, most of which are pure speculation or fabrication. It is likely that Lula Parker Betenson’s account in her book is the most reliable. As regards this revolver there can be no doubt that this is “THE” revolver turned in by Butch Cassidy AKA Robert LeRoy Parker AKA George Lee Roy Parker and a variety of other aliases. PROVENANCE: Robert LeRoy Parker AKA Butch Cassidy; Parley P. Christensen; E. Dixson Larson Collection. CONDITION: Fair to good. Bbl retains 60-70% strong orig nickel with the balance a light metal patina. Most unusually both sides of the muzzle show heavy wear as does the end of the ejector rod housing which lends credence to the statements by eye witnesses that Butch Cassidy wore this revolver in a shoulder holster which would have caused wear from continuous rubbing under the arm. Frame retains traces of orig nickel being mostly a gray/brown patina. Trigger guard & back strap retain traces of nickel in sheltered areas also being a smooth gray/brown patina. Cylinder retains traces of nickel in some of the flutes with dark plum patina in the flutes and mostly is a gray/brown patina. Grips are sound showing extreme wear, even on both left & right. Hammer is not solid in safety notch, otherwise mechanics are fine, strong bore with scattered pitting. Holster shows moderate to heavy wear and is completely sound. Thumb strap is a replacement. 4-44151 JR185 (200,000-250,000)

Auction: Firearms - Fall 2011
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.