Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Thumprint Walker

Gallery Before
This is the Greg Martin and Heritage Gallery in San Francisco. We have been getting ready for a big preview of a collection of rare and valuable Colt Firearms and other Fine Antique Arms and Armor.
Gallery After
Our warehouse is on the second floor and is usually just a big open space. We have worked hard transforming it into a Show Gallery.
I forgot to take some 'Before'-before pictures, so the 'Before' pictures are really 'almost there' pictures... but I think you can get the idea of what we had to do.
The green curtains and scrolls on the red columns are added for the event, as are all the cases.
You would have thought that we were getting ready for a Cotillion or something, the way our Consignment Director fussed over the curtains and the rugs and the food!
But since we had over 6 million dollars worth of firearms to Preview, I guess it was a worthy effort.

Oh, I heard you all go "WHAT! SIX MILLION DOLLARS! FOR GUNS?"

That's a conservative estimate- I assure you. BTW- these firearms are now on their way to another Preview in Beverly Hills and then on to New York City before going to the final destination of Dallas Texas to be auctioned.

These are some of the finest and rarest of  Colts Firearms. The first and most expensive (with a low Estimate of $700,00.00 ) is called the Paterson Colt. It was a giant leap from the cap and ball firearm to a revolving cylinder. 30% of the first ones blew up, so finding even one is rare- finding one that is intact with all of the accoutrements is amazing. (Most of these remaining firearms were Presentation gifts from Sam Colt of various people.)

To see more of the collection and to hear Greg Martin talk about it, click on the link, then go to the Sept 18th Arms and Armor auction.

We also had suits of miniture armor, knives, muskets, shotguns and of course no fine sale is complete without a cannon - or two. Ours are bronze and they sat on the bottom of the ocean for over two hundred years before being brought up. Then they sat in a special 'bath' to kill the bronze disease for two years, before being brought to GMA to put in this auction.

Gallery Before

Gallery After

And that brings me to the famous Walker Colt.

Colt 'Thumbprint' Walker

They call it the Thumbprint Walker because during the case hardening process a workman left his thumbprint on the wedge, just under the cylinder. Maybe it dosen't look that impressive, especially after looking at some of the fancy engraving on some of the other Colt's, but the human-ness of that thumbprint makes it my favorite piece in the auction.
It was certainly special to see this collection, amassed by Mr. Al Cali over the course of fifty years, all in one place. There will never be anything like it again. Quite a few of these pieces will end up in Museums, the others will go into private collections, which are seldom put on display.
So Thank you, Mr. Al Cali, and Thank you Mr. Greg Martin. This was a spectacular display, and I am proud to be a very small part of it.