Rock Island’s Rare Rig

collectingthewestSevers is a well-known name in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and a holster rig tied to that family has set a world record.  In downtown Muskogee, you can still find two Severs buildings, each more than a century old. The Arkansas-born Frederick Ballard Severs built them—the first bank in Indian Territory and the Severs Hotel—after the 49 year old moved there in 1884 and opened up his general merchandise business.

Frederick is well-known in the region, but his son Samuel also left a tangible piece of his craftsmanship that is still appreciated today—a holster rig that sold for a $27,500 bid at Rock Island Auction in Moline, Illinois, on April 28-30. Samuel moved to Muskogee, as well, and followed in his father’s footsteps by opening his own business, making saddles and other horse gear. Even though Samuel had mainly been raised by Frederick’s Cherokee ex-wife Elizabeth and her new husband, Arch Casey, he grew close to his biological father; they even served together as officers at the town’s Masonic Lodge.

By 1906, the same year when 19-year-old Samuel Jr. died, 52-year-old Samuel had moved on to Little Rock, Arkansas, while his wife cared for the youngest three of their seven children in Muskogee. We know this because the family was interviewed by the Dawes Commission in 1906, when it was enrolling the Cherokees in the Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood in 1907. Ann Gardner of Muskogee, related to a sister of Frederick B. Severs, says Samuel died early in the 20th century in Arkansas, but family records don’t state when he died or where his body is buried. She was thrilled to hear of the holster rig, having heard of only one other piece by Severs—a saddle—turning up at a Texas auction a few years ago.

The Severs holster beat out a record held by a holster rig for a Colt single action, marked “R.F. Tackaberry/Maker/Ft. Worth Tex,” which sold for $24,000 at an auction also held in Moline, Illinois, says Judy E. Voss, vice president at Rock Island Auction. Tackaberry ran a saddlery in Fort Worth as early as 1877, according to a city directory.

Sheriff’s Model Colt Tops Cowan’s Auctions

A Colt Single Action Sheriff’s Model Revolver was the top lot at the Historic Firearms and Early Militaria auction held by Cowan’s on May 2-3. Introduced in 1882, the gun is known as the “sheriff’s model” because it has a shorter barrel—3.5 inches—and does not have an ejector rod or housing. Bearing serial no. 172734, this revolver is engraved with carved bull’s head pearl grips. The factory letter accompanying this lot states the revolver was shipped to H. Woodhaus & Son on September 15, 1897. It sold for $80,000.

– Courtesy Cowan’s Auctions –

Greg Martin Raises the Bar

Greg Martin Auctions set a new world record for a firearms collection sold by a private individual when it auctioned off the Robert Howard Collection on February 5 and 6 for $11 million. One of the top lots in that sale included a Colt Texas Patterson, serial no. 772, owned by New England sea captain Seth Lewis Loring, who made it to the California Gold Rush in 1849 and returned to Massachusetts in 1851, according to records left by John S. DuMont, the previous owner of the Colt and renowned gun expert; $140,000.

– Courtesy Greg Martin Auctions –

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