Colt Single Action Army Revolver Owned by Pancho Villa

This 1874 Vintage Colt Single Action Army revolver, serial number 429 originally had a 7-1/2 inch barrel that was cut down to 4-3/4 inches. (Commonly seen on guns that found their way to “Old” Mexico) Barrel has correct one-line italicized address, marked: “COLTS PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A.“ Chambered in 45 Long-Colt cartridge. Two-line patent dates on left side of frame. Replaced “home-made” ejector rod. Ejector housing held in place with a “hardware store” pan-head screw. One-piece tusk grips. Most likely this old Colt started life as an Ainsworth inspected U.S. Cavalry revolver. Unfortunately, the current condition of screws prohibits disassembly for search of U.S. Ordnance Dept. inspection stamps. Accompanying the revolver are notarized documents attesting to its prior ownership to Mexican Revolutionist Pancho Villa. Born Doroteo Arango in San Juan, Durango Mexico on June 5, 1878, Pancho Villa died July 20, 1923 in Parral, Chihuahua Mexico. According to a notarized statement from Ms. Carmen Marcione signed January 9, 2013, Pancho Villa gave her grandfather, Nicolas Montiel this well used Colt s/n 429 for tending to his horses. Nicolas Montiel was 11 years old at the time. The event took place in a small village on the outskirts of Chihuahua Mexico (same general area Pancho was at his death). According to Ms. Marcione her Grandfather Nicolas was born in 1904 making the date of this event 1915. According to testimony: “PANCHO VILLA CAME INTO TOWN ONE DAY AND NEEDED HELP WITH HIS HORSES. HE TOOK A LIKING TO MY GRANDFATHER AND ASKED HIM IF HE WOULD HELP WATER THE HORSES AND LOOK AFTER THEM DURING HIS STAY. ON THE DAY PANCHO VILLA LEFT, MY GRANDFATHER ASKED IF HE COULD LOOK AT HIS GUN. PANCHO VILLA TOOK THIS GUN OUT OF HIS HOLSTER AND SHOWED IT TO HIM. HE THEN HANDED IT TO MY GRANDFATHER AND TOLD HIM TO KEEP IT. IT WAS A GIFT TO HIM IN EXCHANGE FOR HELPING TAKE CARE OF THE ANIMALS.”


CONDITION: Relic condition overall. The revolver appears to have been “wire brushed” and overcleaned to bare metal, turning a grey patina overall. Evidence of heavy corrosion and pitting. Action operates however is loose. Bore is dark. Grips have seen heavy use with sections of material missing along the backstrap, and forestrap. Replaced front sight. Replaced ejector rod. Various screws replaced.


Not to add conjecture or interject personal opinion to this story, this is exactly the type of thing Pancho Villa was known for. Pancho Villa was brought into a life of sparse beginnings. Son to a poor field laborer, he became an orphan at a very early age, having to defend and take care of himself completely on his own thereafter. Taking a liking to a 11-year old boy in a small deprived village, then giving him his Colt for taking care of his horses, sounds about right.  Considering the vintage and prior history of Colt s/n 429 (undoubtably an early U.S. Calvary revolver that was most likely lost, then recovered in battle) Along with the condition of this well-used Colt, makes for a most convincing story. 

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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