Category Archives: Western Americana

Historic Firearms and Old West Auction on September 30th

North American Auction Company is setting the stage for their next auction on Saturday September 20th, 2017. Over 500 lots will be selling to the highest bidder from a carefully put together catalog of quality and outstanding consignments. This sale includes various Battle of the Little Bighorn Colt Single Action Army Revolvers, Large Collection of Advertising Signs, Wounded Knee Massacre Rifles, Civil War Firearms, Indian Wars Weapons, Montana History, Gas & Oil Advertising, Historic Native American Tomahawks and War Clubs, Rare Books, and much more. Absentee and live bidding, including a live video feed, will be available exclusively on iCollector.com.

Lots 111 and 112 are the big features of the auction. These are two Battle of Little Bighorn Colt handguns. Both are valued at close to 100,000 dollars and are premium pieces for the most serious of collectors.

The full description for Lot 111 is as follows:

This is possibly one of the most historic and important Battle of the Little Bighorn Custer Battlefield Colt Single Action Army revolvers offered for sale. The pistol was owned and carried by Little Brave into the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Little Brave was issued this 1873 nickel plated single action revolver, 45 Caliber, in accordance with Custer’s orders to have the Indian scout’s guns nickel plated in order to differentiate their guns from those of soldier or military use. Little Brave is one of the few George Armstrong Custer US 7th Cavalry Arikara Scout’s documented to have been killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The pistol has been examined and authenticated by renowned Battle of the Little Bighorn historian and Togia language expert, Wendell Grangaard of The Guns of History, Inc. The revolver was found to show hand carved symbols in the Togia Language. The left side original wood grip shows the name, “Little Brave” and the name “Chief Brave Bear” written in Togia along with “Coup Counted”. Little Brave was an Arikara Scout who served as a Private in the 7th Cavalry for General George Armstrong Custer and was issued weapons. One June 25, 1876 at Little Bighorn on orders from Custer, Major Reno accompanied the Arikara scouts to cross the river and run off the Sioux/Cheyenne Pony Herd, the scouts included Little Brave alongside Young Hawk, Goose, Black Fox, Red Star, Strikes Two, Bloody Knife, Little Sioux, Bob Tail Bull, Forked Horn, Red Foolish Bear, Boy Chief and One Feather. After crossing the river, six of the scouts turned right to capture the Sioux horses grazing in the valley. Strikes Two led the six scouts including; Boy Chief, Red Star, Black Fox, Little Sioux and One Feather. Bloody Knife and Little Brave along with the remaining scouts rode straight for the Sioux Camp. Young Hawk testifies later that he saw Little Brave riding from the timber yelling, “The Dakota are about to charge.” Young Hawk said he watched as Little Brave stopped his spotted horse so he could take a steady shot at the charging Dakota Warriors and he fired one shot, and then rode off. Young Hawk said he saw Little Brave’s Horse later, rider-less. Brave Bear, a Cheyenne Chief testified that he “Counted Coup” on Little Brave after his men stabbed and beat him to death. Counting Coup refers to the winning of prestige against an enemy. Brave Bear said he then got Little Brave’s guns, one long barreled rifle and a revolver. He said he gave the rifle away to a Sioux Warrior, keeping the revolver. It is well documented that Little Brave was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn with the above testimonies documented in, “The Arikara Narrative of Custer’s Campaign and the Battle of Little Bighorn” by Orin G. Libby University of Oklahoma Press 1981 and “Who Killed Custer: The Eyewitness Answer +100 Voices” by Bruce Brown BF Communications Inc. 2011. This is a Colt Single Action Army revolver with serial number 22223, manufactured in 1876. The revolver shows traces of the original nickel finish along with the original wood grips showing Togia carvings. The barrel has been shortened from its original 7.5” length to 5.75” along with a different front sight installed, possibly done by Crazy Horse’s gunsmith. Left side marked, “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / PAT. JULY, 2, 1872”, “45 CAL”. Top marked, “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.” Also marked with the serial number 22223 on the trigger guard, receiver frame, and butt along with 2223 on the cylinder wall. Little Brave (c.1850-1876), also known as “Stub” and “Little Soldier” served in the Black Hills Expedition of 1874, and re-enlisted with Custer at Fort Lincoln in May of 1876, later being killed by Brave Bear and Wooden Leg’s men at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The piece comes with the signed letter describing the piece’s history from Wendell Grangaard along with a detailed illustration showing the markings he has translated. Wendell Grangaard is the foremost knowledge on the Togia language along with the Battle of the Little Bighorn as he is the author of the book, “Documenting the Weapons Used at Little Bighorn” 2015. Wendell was also intricate in the authentication and examination of the historic George Armstrong Custer Captured Sharps Carbine from Chief Black Kettle that sold at auction for $127,000. Comes with documentation including a detailed description authenticating the piece signed by Wendell, along with a illustration showing the togia language carvings drawn along with a few images of Little Brave. This is truly one of the most important firearms made available for sale from the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the most important Arikara Scout Little Brave owned historic piece ever brought to the public. It is believed that the firearm was part of the Government sale of 115 revolvers through Shuyler, Hartley and Graham (H & D Folsum was a silent partner) by General Terry on orders from General George Armstrong Custer. These firearms were nickel plated with wood grips to be handed out to the Arikara Scouts and marked by them. The nickel plating was to differentiate the firearms from the US Cavalry issue and civilian owned firearms. From the personal collection of Steve Livermore of South Dakota.

The full description for Lot 112 is as follows:

The lot features a Colt Single Action Army US 7TH Cavalry revolver issued to the Arikara Scout, Charging Up The Hill and signed in Togia Language Carvings. The pistol was owned and carried by Charging Up The Hill into the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It is believed that this pistol was part of the 115 revolver Special Government Sale obtained by General George Armstrong Custer through General Terry’s Order Number 117, which started before the Black Hills Expedition to allow Custer to outfit the 7th Cavalry and his Scouts in time for the Expedition. Some of the items were not shipped in time for the Expedition, but were later used for the Sioux Wars. The revolvers were sent to Shuyler, Harley and Graham with H&D Folsum Co. of New York being a partner. They were ordered to be nickel plated by Custer so that they would be able to be differentiated from the Cavalry Soldier issued pistols (which had a blue finish). They also received the wood grips, with some receiving Ivory grips, to be marked by the Arikara Scouts per Custer’s orders. They were then shipped to Fort Abraham Lincoln. Wendell Grangaard, Battle of the Little Bighorn Historian and Togia Language carvings expert, personally reviewed the duplicate records from the Fort’s Archives from two of the Ordnance Captains, not being allowed to make copies he wrote down all of the information of which serial numbers were shipped. It is known that Custer issued nickel plated Colt SAA revolvers as shown by the photograph taken by William H. Illingworth and developed by Buckbee-Mears Co. Lindeke Bldg., St. Paul, Minnesota, Coded 77837. This photograph shows Moses Milner “California Joe” with General George Armstrong Custer, along with Little Sioux, Bloody Knife, and Goose (Custer Scouts) each holding the Colt Single Action Army’s with nickel plating that Custer issued them from the shipment on July 29, 1874 by H&D Folson to Fort Lincoln. It also should be noted that a full blooded Indian Scout would not have been able to purchase a new revolver from a gun shop due to his heritage. In addition to the excellent historic documentation that this pistol was included in the Fort Lincoln firearms shipment to Custer the Colt is also signed in Togia Language carvings. The pistol has been examined and authenticated by Togia language expert, Wendell Grangaard of The Guns of History, Inc. The revolver was found to show hand carved symbols in the Togia Language. Marked across the back-strap butt metal frame, “Scout-Charging Up The Hill-rode with-brought messages-soldier, Boy Chief-Bear Running in Timber.” Marked on the bottom of the left grip bear back strap frame butt with the two societies that Charging Up The Hill belonged to, the New Dog Secret Society and the Grass Dance Secret Society. The right side of the grips are marked, “Head Chief Leader Running Wolf rode with Strikes Two.” On the left grip is marked, “Young Hawk – New Dog Society – Soldier.” The name “Black Fox” is written in Togia on the trigger guard. On this revolver, Charging Up The Hill is marking a tribute to the small group of seven scouts that he belonged to which was selected to carry the mail. Boy Chief also carried a nickel-plated US marked Model 1873 Colt SAA Revolver with S/N 13537 and Soldier carried an 1873 Winchester Carbine S/N 189. Included in the documentation with this lot is a copy of the Colt Manufactuing Company factory letter for the Colt Single Action Army Model 1873 with serial number 13721 being only a few serial numbers away from our own. The paperwork shows this as also being a Shuyler, Harley and Graham circa 1874 issue pistol and as a “Gov’t Sale” part of a 115 gun shipment. The Colt with serial number 13721 has been found to belong to One Horn, also a Custer Arikara Scout at Battle of the Little Bighorn. Also included in this lot is the book, “The Arikara Narrative of Custer’s Campaign and the Battle of Little Bighorn” by Orin G. Libby University of Oklahoma Press 1981. This is a Colt Single Action Army revolver with serial number 13725, manufactured in 1874 as part of the Government Sale. The revolver shows traces of the original nickel finish along with the original wood grips showing Togia carvings. The barrel has been shortened from its original 7.5” length to a crooked 5.75” along with a different front sight installed, possibly done by Crazy Horse’s gunsmith. Left side marked, “PAT. SEPT. 19, 1871 / PAT. JULY, 2, 1872”, “US”. Top marked, “COLT’S PT. F. A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.” Also marked with the serial number 13725 on the trigger guard, receiver frame, and butt along with 3725 on the cylinder wall. Charging Up The Hill was an Arikara Native American Indian and enlisted as an Indian scout on May 8, 1876 with the 7th Cavalry. The piece comes with the signed letter describing the piece’s history from Wendell Grangaard along with a detailed illustration showing the markings he has translated. Wendell Grangaard is the foremost knowledge on the Togia language along with the Battle of the Little Bighorn as he is the author of the book, “Documenting the Weapons Used at Little Bighorn” 2015. Wendell was also intricate in the authentication and examination of the historic George Armstrong Custer Captured Sharps Carbine from Chief Black Kettle that sold at auction for $127,000. Comes with documentation including a detailed description authenticating the piece signed by Wendell, along with a illustration showing the togia language carvings drawn. This is truly one of the most important firearms made available for sale from the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the most important Arikara Scout Charging Up The Hill owned historic piece ever brought to the public. From the outstanding Historic Billings, Montana Indian Artifact Collection, the same collection as the Battle of the Little Bighorn Tomahawk, small axe, and other wonderful pieces brought to auction by our company. The firearm also comes with an appraisal from Wendell Grangaard placing the value between $60,000 and $90,000.

The live bidding commences at 10AM Mountain Time, 9AM Pacific Time, on Saturday September 30th, 2017.. Full photos and descriptions of all 500+ lots can be found, and available for absentee bidding now, in the online catalog. Bidders can join the live auction and enjoy hearing the auctioneer and seeing the action as it takes place on their computer.

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