The government is us; we are the government, you and I. -Theodore Roosevelt

How Much Would You Pay for Roosevelt’s Revolver?


A revolver belonging to Boone and Crockett Club co-founder and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sold for more than $750,000 at a recent auction. 

On December 9, a Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 revolver in .38 Long Colt that belonged to Theodore Roosevelt sold at auction for $775,000. The revolver was shipped to Lt. Colonel Roosevelt on May 12, 1898, the same day he departed for San Antonio to train the famed Rough Riders. Years later, it was likely at his bedside when he died in his sleep. 

“This is a crown jewel in fine arms collecting,” said Kevin Hogan, President of Rock Island Auction Company. “Not only is it a rare chance to own a presidential firearm, but of a president who embodied the spirit of a nation.”

The revolver came with a documentation letter from Smith & Wesson, and auctioneers had estimated it would sell for anywhere between $800,000 to $1.4 million. The documentation does not indicate that he used the revolver during the famous charge up Kettle Hill during the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. In battle, he carried a Colt double-action revolver, which was salvaged from the wreckage of the USS Maine. That revolver now resides at President Roosevelt’s home at Sagamore Hill on Long Island. 


Before leading the Rough Riders, Roosevelt led the Boone and Crockett Club, serving as Club president from 1888 to 1894.  With George Bird Grinnell, Roosevelt co-founded the Club in 1887. He then served as President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. During that time, Roosevelt was a champion of conservation and, along with other members of the Boone and Crockett Club, worked to establish a legacy that included our national forests, fish and game laws, and national wildlife refuges

According to the auction description and documentation, this particular revolver was purchased from one of Roosevelt’s bodyguards, an African-American man named James E. Amos, who was at the President’s bedside shortly before he died. According to Amos, Roosevelt placed a revolver (likely this one) on his bedstand every night while he was in the White House. “While president, he often went armed,” Amos wrote. 

While $775,000 isn’t chump change, other guns belonging to the former president have been auctioned for even more. In 2010, a Fox Gun Company double-barreled shotgun sold for $862,500. In 2020, a Colt revolver was ordered as a gift for Roosevelt’s 54th bday. When the hammer dropped, it sold for $1.4 million.

Images and video courtesy of Rock Island Auction Company.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt