Friday, March 5, 2010

Bob Meldrum's Colt up for auction

Remember Bob Meldrum? Well you can now purchase a fine Colt given to Meldrum by the Tomboy Mining Company of Telluride, CO. Meldrum had been recommended to the mining company by his friend Tom Horn. Tom is another one of those characters, like "Hair Trigger" Bob, that moved in and out of various roles as a lawmen, gunfighter, assassin, Pinkerton detective, etc. Meldrum, Charles Siringo and others were hired by the Pinkerton's and/or Governor Gooding during the Haywood Trial in Boise, Idaho. Who was on which side of the law was often hard to distinguish.

Below from James D. Julia Auctioneers

Now move 90 years ahead in history to the Wild West Colorado, specifically Telluride. The lot in question is an extraordinary and rare Cuneo Helfricht engraved and gold inlaid Colt single-action Army revolver. According to the records, it appears that of all of the 300,000 antique Colt revolvers produced over a period of approximately 30+ years, only 16 ever had gold inlay and only two of those gold inlaid ones ever carried presentation inscriptions on the backstrap, this being one of them. The backstrap and butt strap read, “From the Tom Boy Gold Mine Co., Telluride, Colorado to Robert L. Meldrum”. The gun had been on loan and display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, in Craig, Colorado until the owner learned that the Julia auction company in March of 2009 had sold a similar gold inlaid revolver for around $750,000 and as a result, contacted Julia. While this gun is not in the spectacular condition that the Sears Colt of spring 2009 was, this has something the Sears Colt did not have and that is a most intriguing and exciting western history. Meldrum apparently was a friend or acquaintance of Tom Horn. The Tom Boy Mining Company was experiencing great difficulty with organizers trying to get their workers to go out on strike and poachers stealing minerals from their claims. They unsuccessfully tried to get Horn to come work for them but he was busy at the time and referred them to Meldrum. Meldrum obviously was successful for the mining company because in 1904 they presented him with two beautiful engraved Colts. This one however, is by far the finer of the two with gold inlay; a most extravagant gift in those days. History about Meldrum indicates that his title “hair trigger” was well earned. During his lifetime he killed no fewer than 14 men, most “in the line of duty”. Meldrum was obviously a hard and cold man as at least two of his victims were unarmed at the time he shot them. Meldrum’s history is not only intriguing but a bit mysterious. By the 1920s he had established a leatherwork business making saddles and holsters at which he was greatly accomplished. One night his business was burnt down, Meldrum disappeared and was never heard from again. This extraordinary pistol with its tremendous history carries a presale estimate of $200,000-$400,000.
--James D. Julia Press Releases

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