Teddy’s 38 Brings Big Bucks, Leo’s Not So Mucho

Theodore Roosevelt’s Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 was shipped from the factory just days after the bespectacled former New York City Police Commish and Assistant Secretary of the Navy had been officially sworn in as a new lieutenant colonel in the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry in May 1898. Better known as the “Rough Riders,” Teddy would go on to lead his swashbuckling cavalrymen (sans horses, which they had to leave behind due to lack of transport) in the campaign against the Spanish in Cuba.

Later believed to have been used by the famed “Bull Moose” as a nightstand gun late into his life, the vintage .38 Long Colt chambered six-shooter had a provenance that tied it from the late 26th President to his longtime valet and finally to well-known S&W historian Jeff Supica (the guy who literally wrote the book on collecting Smiths).

In the end, Teddy’s Smith brought just shy of a million, hitting the gavel at $910,625 last weekend.

One of Teddy’s biggest pals, Dr. Leonard Wood, became familiar with TR while Leo was on the White House staff in the role of a physician to Presidents Grover Cleveland and William McKinley. Leaving his position to become the colonel in the Rough Riders in 1898, Wood had some legit prior military chops, having spent several years as an Army surgeon in the Arizona Territory during the Apache Campaigns, and by the end of the SpanAm War had risen to a brigadier general (of volunteers), commanding the brigade that included the Rough Riders.

1st US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (Rough Riders) command, taken at camp in Tampa, Florida before embarking for Cuba: From Left to right, Maj. George Dunn, Major Brodie, Maj. Gen. (former Confederate Lt. Gen.) Joseph “Fighting Joe” Wheeler, Chaplain Brown of the Rough Riders, Col. Leonard Wood, and Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt. National Archives – (NARA 111-SC-93549)

Coincidentally, Wood’s S&W .44 DA revolver, shipped to him in 1905 when he was the Governor of the Moro Province in the Philippines, also came to the gavel in the same auction as part of the Supica Collection.

It, however, “only” went for $29,375.

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