The Rock Island Auction Company, or RIA, is showcasing two amazing one-of-a-kind revolvers, a Smith & Wesson Model 19-2 and a Colt Python commissioned by none other than music legend Elvis Presley.
And while factory models of these guns still stand out today, these two are truly unique. Both have an amazing 95 percent custom engraving by Friedrick Wilhelm Heym Co. of Germany, consigned by the King himself.
“It is with this immense significance that Rock Island Auction Company is proud to present Elvis’ revolvers and other significant pieces of memorabilia,” states the announcement. The handguns will be showcased in their May 2017 Premiere Firearms Auction.
Both revolvers have elaborate leaf and vine scrollwork engraving with gold leaf inlays and silver bordering. They also feature raised North American wildlife on the frames. Bear, elk, buffalo and mountain lions adorn both guns. The Smith & Wesson has custom black grips with gold inlay while the Colt sports ivory-hued grips with black scrimshaw-style inlay.
These guns are as storied as they are beautiful. Presley commissioned the Smith & Wesson in 1970 for a special occasion.
“Not a square inch of this gun was left undecorated, a feat not unsurprising to those familiar with Elvis’ style during that time,” tells RIA. “Once completed, he brought the Smith & Wesson along on a trip to Washington D.C. and presented it to Vice President Spiro Agnew that same year.”
“Unfortunately for Agnew, he was only able to keep the presentation revolver for a short period of time before returning it as he was under investigation for corruption, which would eventually result in his resignation and other penalties.”
It wouldn’t take long for Presley to find a home for the meticulously decorated handgun. Not too long after a local sheriff, Gene Barksdale, did Elvis a small favor. He shuttled a group of friends from a stranded airport to Presley’s home in Graceland.
The two started talking guns when Presley stopped Barksdale and said, “Well, sheriff, I got something for ya.” Barksdale would later pass the revolver on to his nephew who added it to this collection.
The Colt has a more personal story. It was commissioned as a gift for Richard Grob, the Director of Security and Operations for Elvis Presley Enterprises. Grob was a close friend to Presley and the two went shooting regularly.
“Grob worked for Presley from 1967 until his death in 1977 and in that time became a close personal friend and confidant. He advised the King on many of his firearm purchases and frequently accompanied him to firing ranges.”
Included with the collection is a jeweled sheriff’s deputy badge and the contract of sale for Graceland. Elvis purchased Graceland for $102,500 when he was 22. Other documents provide provenance for the handguns along with other “Memphis Mafia” memorabilia.
To see the entire May 2017 Premier Firearms Auction head over to Rock Island Auctions.