Pictured Colt comes from Wikipedia.
Many items are often sold from person to person as allegedly belonging to a famous, (infamous in this case) individual. However, value, if primarily based on the items association with that person, can only be established with a clear and documented record of ownership. Sometimes what we want to believe taints our examination and interpretation of the evidence.
From various accounts, we know that Harry had a Colt in his possession at the time of arrest. However, the evidence that this particular revolver belonged to Orchard remains rather thin. After all, that is not "Harry Orchard" inscribed inside the handle and even that would not guarantee authenticity. If ownership can be verified though documentation, articles, descendants, etc., perhaps to an Idaho Pen guard or warden, and better yet directly to Orchard—the provenance would be considerably strengthened.
The following comes from a NYT article written by Oscar King reporting on Orchard's testimony at the Haywood trial:
I have been in contact with the Idaho State Historical Society but there is no documented record currently available to prove what happened to Orchard's revolver, if it was among his belongings stored at the pen, or if a guard or the warden bought or arranged to sell it so Orchard could send the proceeds to his wife (as Orchard reportedly requested.
P.R. Edington June 11, 1911." One could reasonably assume that to be a previous owner, with a later owner being Rev. Marshall F. Montgomery . Who are they? What, if any, connection do they have to a chain of ownership leading back to Orchard?
The information in the description is essentially all the evidence we have at this time. The key word is "alleged" as I could take a period Colt, package it with an even better collection of articles, photographs, Orchard's book, etc., and present it as being his revolver. The current seller is not doing that but what about the various owners of this particular Colt over the past 100+ years?
Click on the description & then click again for larger/clearer view.
If you can offer any information or recommendations, please respond by clicking below this post on "comments" (you will have the option to do so anonymously) or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Orchard on the left...his Colt Revolver in hand? Rehearsing for the real thing. Cabal of Death by Robert Grimmett
The search goes on...