Gun collectors are always on the lookout for their next big discovery. The thrill of the hunt never seems to fade.
As with any kind of collectible, the value of a gun can range from nearly worthless to priceless. The key to being a skilled collector is being able to recognize the difference between trash and treasure.
Antique guns are an exciting sector of the collectibles market. After all, they represent important stages in history and the development of western civilization, especially in America.
Firearms are fascinating, even if you’ve never shot one. They are wonders of design and craftsmanship. And the more you understand about the history of guns, the more skilled you will become at spotting valuable pieces that you should invest in.
In this article, we take a look at some of the rarest and most valuable guns in the world.
1. Adolf Hitler’s Golden Walther
This firearm is obviously the most infamous item on the list. It was a gift to Hitler from Carl Walther for his 50th birthday, personalized with the letters “AH” on white ivory on the side.
Known as “The Fuhrer’s Golden Gun”, this 7.65mm Walther PP is believed to be the weapon Hitler used to commit suicide, making it one of the most valuable guns in the world. Following his death, the gun was returned to the United States and purchased at auction by an anonymous bidder.
The gun sold at auction in 1987 for $114,000, though its current value would likely reach into the millions.
2. The Gun that Killed Jesse James
Jesse James was a notorious American outlaw who robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches during the 1880s. He and his gang were greatly feared and believed to be unstoppable.
James eventually became careless and was shot in the back of the head by a family friend named Robert Ford in 1882.
This .44 caliber Smith & Wesson is the very gun used to kill the outlaw and was sold at auction for $350,000.
3. Colt Paterson Revolver
The Colt Paterson Revolver holds a special place in history as being the first-ever repeating firearm. Patented by Samuel Colt in 1836, this gun represented a huge leap forward in firearms technology.
4. Sam Wilson’s Colt Walker
This Colt pistol is special because it was designed to be used by the Texas Rangers, and this particular gun was originally owned by Texas Ranger Sam Wilson, famous for vowing to take revenge on the man who gunned down his wife.
Only about 1000 units of the .44 caliber Colt Walker and only around 200 are left, making it much desired among serious collectors.
5. Lee Harvey Oswald’s Rifle
It’s really nothing short of amazing how something as small and unimpressive as a gun can literally change the course of history. After all, a handheld firearm can typically be stored in a space the size of a broom closet or under the seat of a car. And yet one bullet can alter the leadership of a country.
This is very true in the case of the weapon used by Lee Harvey Oswald to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. The 6.5mm Carcano Model 91/38 carbine was fired from a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository in November of 1963.
Oswald’s widows eventually sold title of the rifle to a collector who had to sue the federal government to release the gun. Believe it or not, a jury agreed with the government that because Osward abandoned the weapon, neither his widow nor the purchaser could claim any rights of ownership.
The rifle is currently located in the National Archives in Maryland.
6. Wyatt Earp’s Colt Revolver
There are few names more embedded in American folklore than Wyatt Earp. He was one of the most famous gunslingers of the Old West, as well as a hunter, lawman, and killer.
It is believed that Earp’s Colt .45 revolver was used at the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral in 1881 that made him famous.
Antique guns like this having an amazing way of making history come alive.
7. Teddy Roosevelt’s Shotgun
Teddy Roosevelt, who served as president between 1901 and 1909, was well-known as an avid outdoorsman and hunter. This double-barreled shotgun was made for him by the Fox Gun company to be taken on an African expedition in 1909.
This gun was a constant companion to Roosevelt later in his life, and it remains a symbol of the 26the president’s legacy and heritage.
8. Simon Bolivar’s Flintlock Pistols
This pistol was own by Simon Jose Antonio de la Santisima Trinidad Bolivar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco, a South American leader who helped several countries gain their independence from the Spanish Empire.
Bolivar’s flintlock pistols represent the third highest amount ever paid for guns at auction.
9. George Washington’s Saddle Pistols
These pistols were designed by a gunsmith named Jacob Walster and gifted to George Washington by Marquis de Lafayette during the Revolutionary War.
These two pistols feature silver and gold inlays and intricate carvings that truly make them works of art.
After Washington’s death, the guns were eventually sold at auction for near two million dollars and donated to the Fort Ligonier Historic Museum near Pittsburg.
10. Single-Shot .44 Caliber Derringer Pistol
This is the gun used to assassinate Abraham Lincoln at Ford Theater on April 15, 1865. It’s currently on display at the Ford Theater, the same location where the assassination took place.
The gun was used by John Wilkes Booth, and because of the historical significance of the assassination, experts believe that if this pistol were to ever be put up for auction, it would sell for the highest price of any gun in history.
Rare and Valuable Antique Guns
Collectors of antique guns understand how amazing these historical artifacts really are. They have a way of transporting us back in time and help give life to stories that have become legend.
The old guns in this article are valuable because of how they connect us to the important people and events that helped shape the world we live in.
Click here to see 8 things to collect that are actually worth the investment.