Historic Firearms of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Gerald Ford Heading to Auction

Presidents Day may have been in February, but for collectors of historic firearms owned by past Oval Office occupants, the weekend of May 17-19 should be on the calendar. That is when Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC) will hold its May Premier Auction in Bedford, Texas, featuring extremely rare firearms owned by past presidents.

That will include a percussion rifle from Teddy Roosevelt’s extensive collection as well as five sporting arms that were presented to Ford to commemorate the United States Bicentennial in 1976.

“Presidential arms have historically performed extremely well,” said Kevin Hogan, president of RIAC. With their legacy tied to such an important office, most presidential-owned firearms are institutionalized. The select few offered for private sale are immensely rare and rank among the most sought-after objects in the fine arms field.”

Teddy’s Hawken Rifle

Among the notable items being offered this May is a well-documented and historic half-stock percussion rifle from President Theodore Roosevelt’s personal collection. Roosevelt received the Hawken rifle in 1893, and the former president indicated that he had personally seen it used by American frontier legend Kit Carson.

It is featured in the book “The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West” by R.L. Wilson where it is described as a “Sam Hawken-made .70 caliber rifle, the most massive Hawken known.”

Theodore Roosevelt's Hawken rifle
Theodore Roosevelt’s Hawken rifle retains 75% of its original brown and casehardened finish, which is blended with a smooth brown patina, some minor oxidation, and generally fairly minor overall wear.

The rifle remained in Roosevelt’s collection until 1907, when the then-sitting president eventually loaned the historic rifle to the Boone & Crockett Club, a conservation organization he had helped found. The gun had also been displayed at Sagamore Hill, which served as Roosevelt’s home for more than three decades. It now serves as a museum and historic site.

President Roosevelt’s Sam Hawken rifle has an estimated price is $55,000 – $85,000.

President Gerald Ford’s Sporting Arms

While serving as president during the 1976 bicentennial year, President Gerald R. Ford Jr. was presented with five fine, engraved sporting arms from Winchester, Browning, and Ruger. These will be available in three separate lots at the May Premier Auction.

Gerald R. Ford's rifles
The historic presentation pieces to the 38th president will be available in Rock Island Auction Company’s May 17-19 Premier Auction in Bedford, Texas.

The first is a gold inlaid Winchester Model 21 bicentennial double-barrel shotgun, which was personally engraved for President Ford. A large gold presidential seal is inlaid beneath the shotgun, while it was given to Mr. Ford with an extra barrel set in a bespoke case with gold text that reads “President Gerald R. Ford, United States of America.” The Model 21, with its rich historical significance, is expected to have a pre-auction value of $125,000 – $250,000.

President Ford was further presented with a factory-engraved game scene pair of Browning Model 1885 single-shot rifles. The pair exhibits stunning engravings, including bald eagles and bison in gold relief, strong symbols for a bicentennial presentation. The rifles carry a pre-auction estimate of $75,000 – $125,000.

The final lot tied to the late President Ford is a pair of Ruger No. 1 single-shot rifles engraved and gold inlaid by master James Meek. With semi-relief gold animals on each side, the pair also bears numerous presentation markings, and the leather-bound case is also marked on its lid, “Presented to President Gerald R. Ford by the Republican National Committee.” The Ruger No. 1s are expected to have a pre-auction value of $40,000 – $60,000.

Much More in May

In addition to the five presidential firearms, RIAC’s May Premier Auction has more than 2,100 lots. This is the company’s first premier auction at its brand-new Bedford facility, which opened last December.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based freelance writer who regularly covers firearms related topics and military history. As a reporter, his work has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and websites. Among those are The National Interest, Forbes, and many others. He has collected military small arms and military helmets most of his life, and just recently navigated his first NFA transfer to buy his first machine gun. He is co-author of the book A Gallery of Military Headdress, which was published in February 2019. It is his third book on the topic of military hats and helmets.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2024 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap