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Sold: A Custom Revolver Owned by Brigham Young

It’s pretty fancy.

The elaborately decorated revolver that once belonged to the second president of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young, just sold at auction to an unknown buyer. The ornate firearm was originally given to the church leader as gift, but has since been passed down among his descendants, who finally decided to auction off the item to the highest bidder earlier this month.

Young, best known as one of the central leaders of the Mormon Church and for having a lot of wives, was also one of the settlers of the Western frontier, founding Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City in the mid-1800s. When Young put down settlements in the Salt Lake Valley, he envisioned it as a new promised land for the Mormon people, who he had led there, after having been driven out of Illinois. After settling in the valley, Young was appointed Governor of the Utah Territory by President Millard Fillmore, and it was during this tenure that he received his custom revolver as a gift from St. Louis gunmakers, H.E. Dimick & Company.

According to Rock Island Auctions, the gun was probably given to Young after he employed the gunmakers to supply his new territory with weapons. The firearm, a Colt Pocket Percussion Revolver, was engraved with intricate filigree all down the barrel, extending to the handle, where there is also an inscription to Young. The grip around the handle was also made of antique ivory. The gun came in a fancy, felt-lined rosewood box which also had an inscribed metal plate affixed to the interior.

“[He] would undoubtedly have used [the gun] when necessary to protect himself, his family and those who might need it from nefarious persons as was his Constitutional right,” according to the auctioneers. 

Having been passed down throughout Young’s descendants, the gun, and its box and accessories, were kept in incredible shape. It sold to an anonymous buyer earlier this month for $632,500.