ROCK ISLAND, Ill., May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Two of Elvis Presley’s lavish revolvers sold for world record prices in a May firearms auction hosted by Rock Island Auction Company. A highly embellished Smith & Wesson 19-2 revolver, clearly seen being held by Elvis in a period photograph, brought $195,000, and a similarly decorated Colt Python revolver sold for $172,500. Each price is a world record for its respective model. They were followed across the auction block by the King’s diamond and ruby studded Shelby County sheriff’s badge, the original Elvis-signed contract to purchase Graceland, and numerous personal documents also signed by Presley.
“We had high hopes for these incredible firearms, and our collectors did not let us down,” said RIAC President Kevin Hogan. “It’s such a huge honor to be entrusted with the possessions of an American legend, but we also had a lot of fun with it and everyone here did as well. Half an hour before Elvis’ items sold, there wasn’t a seat to be had in our auction hall. It was absolutely electric with anticipation.”
Elvis Presley’s Smith & Wesson revolver (shown here) and his Colt Python revolver sold Friday, May 5 for a world record price at Rock Island Auction Company. Also sold were the King’s sheriff’s badge (see photo), the original sales contract for Graceland, and numerous signed personal documents.
“This elaborate, exhibition grade .357 magnum revolver was once part of the personal collection of Elvis Presley,” the Rock Island Auction stated. “It is accompanied by a mountain of documents and receipts establishing its direct and unbroken line of provenance. This gun was licensed to the King by serial number on Nov 6, 1970. Likely already planning the handgun’s presentation, he then had it sent to Friedrick Wilhelm Heym Co. in Germany for custom embellishment. They clearly spared no expense, slathering the little K-frame revolver with relief leaf and scroll engraving, gold and silver inlaid borders, and five incredible raised gold North American game animals. An expected sight on a fine large game rifle perhaps, but a rare and opulent touch for this small Smith & Wesson.”
“Once completed, he brought the Smith & Wesson along on a trip to Washington D.C. and presented it to Vice President Spiro Agnew that same year. Unfortunately for Agnew, he was only able to keep the presentation revolver for a short period of time before returning it as he was under investigation for corruption, which would eventually result in his resignation and other penalties.”
“With the Smith & Wesson back in the King’s possession, it was only a matter of time before he would find occasion to present the handgun created for such a purpose. That opportunity came when some of Elvis’ friends were going to be stranded at a local airport. Elvis called the sheriff, Gene Barksdale, to call in a favor and have his friends picked up. Such close communication was not irregular as Presley was a great friend to law enforcement, frequently gifting local departments donations, cars, equipment and uniforms for their softball team, and even paying the funeral expenses for a fallen officer.”
“That night, Sheriff Barksdale left with his nephew, an administrative assistant, picked up the hapless travelers and shuttled them to Graceland. While Elvis was talking to Sheriff Barksdale the subject of guns was brought up, and before long he said, ‘Well, sheriff, I got something for ya.’ The King left the room and when he came back, he had this very Smith & Wesson Model 19-2 in his hand and presented it to Sheriff Barksdale, much to the sheriff’s complete surprise. At a later date, Sheriff Barksdale passed that Smith & Wesson Model 19 on to his nephew, the administrative assistant who helped ferry the travelers that night. From that nephew, this incredible collector firearm comes to Rock Island Auction Company and to gun collectors and Elvis enthusiasts around the world.”