President George W. Bush Pistol

A rare handful of guns made over the decades reach significant historical status after a military leader, outlaw or other noteworthy person used them. Some of these fine old guns are very plain and are simply factory guns used by famous people. Revolvers and pistols used by Jesse James, General Custer and others were “Plain Jane” weapons which gained fame, commanding hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, simply because the DNA from these men’s hands is permanently imbedded in the grips and metal.

Other famous handguns belonging to the legendary are elaborate works of art created by custom gunsmiths, engravers and grip makers to become not only capsules of history, but gold standards of the gunsmiths trade. These fine guns are valuable works of art on their own, but when owned by a celebrity like Buffalo Bill Cody or Annie Oakley, they become priceless.

Such is the Model 1911 shown here, created and presented to President G.W. Bush by the American Pistolsmiths Guild. On its own, it’s likely worth about $25,000, including elaborate engraving by Brian Powley and specially fitted ivory grips by Roy Fishpaw. When George W. Bush first touched and took possession of this work of art — bearing the solid gold serial number “GWB-USA-1” — the value immediately increased to around $50,000. Over time, it could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the collector world. Presidential firearms have been among the most prized of collectables if they ever escape the family — and few do.
By Alex Hamilton

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