The image above is of an Italian-made reproduction .44-caliber Colt 1851 Navy percussion revolver imported to the U.S. by Val Forgett’s Navy Arms in the 1970s.
Man I miss the old Navy Arms….
While these guns aren’t rare by any stretch and don’t cost a lot of cash– heck, original Civil War-era Colt Navy revolvers themselves only go for about $2K these days at auction, the above Italian repro just brought $17,400 at a Milestone Auction in Ohio last month.
You see, it was one of a pair of replica guns used by Clint Eastwood in the 1976 film The Outlaw, Josey Wales, and was accompanied by two signed certificates from Paramount Studios.
The movie, adapted from Forrest Carter’s western novel, was one of Eastwood’s cowboy stories actually shot in the U.S., filmed across Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and California in DeLuxe Color and Panavision, and was directed by Eastwood.
A commercial success that brought over 10 times its filming budget despite the hero being a Missouri Bushwacker with a backstory that included “Bloody Bill” Anderson, in 1996, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
One of the certificates identified the gun by serial number and attested to its having been used by Eastwood in his starring role in the classic Western. The gun, marked 1526 and Paramount on the butt, was found in 2000 storage by the studio and logged to the film.
It was then sold at a charity auction while its companion gun is now part of the Smithsonian collection in Washington, DC.
Milestone had estimated the gun would bring $5,000-$10,000. I guess they underestimated the draw of Josey Wales.