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    Iver Johnson .32 Caliber Double Action Revolver Purportedly Belonging to Wyoming Train Robber Bill Carlisle.
    Serial no. 87223, .32 caliber, 4-inch ribbed round barrel with fixed front sight. Nickel-plated with blued trigger guard and case-hardened trigger and hammer. Break-top, five-shot cylinder with automatic ejectors. Top of barrel marked "IVER JOHNSON ARMS & CYCLE WORKS / FITCHBURG MASS. U.S.A.". Black hard rubber checkered grips. Accompanied by an unmarked brown hip holster with basket weave tooling. Note: Heritage Auctions has not researched this gun anymore than what has been provided by the consignor.

    Bill Carlisle [born William L. Cottrell] (1890-1964), was known as the "Gentleman Outlaw" and started his crime career rustling horses and gun-running to Mexico. He committed his first Union Pacific train robbery on February 9, 1916, second on April 4, 1916, and third on April 21, 1916. In the latter robbery he was injured as he jumped from the slow moving train and was subsequently captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Wyoming State Prison. In prison he was a model prisoner and his sentenced was reduced to 25-50 years. However after serving 3 ½ years he escaped and pressing his luck decided to rob one last Union Pacific train. On November 19, 1919 he robbed train No. 19 and was wounded in his right hand. A posse cornered him in a deserted cabin in the Laramie Peaks . Carlisle tried to surrender but his wounded hand made it difficult to drop his weapon and Sheriff A. S. Roach of Platte County shot Bill in the right lung. He recovered and was returned to prison where he remained until he was released on January 8, 1936. The lot also includes an June 6, 1951 dated affidavit from Lulu May Courtright of Capitola, California in which she describes the circumstances of obtaining the revolver. It reads, in part: "I, Lulu May Courtright Hart, daughter of Jim Courtright, Union Scout, lawman, gunfighter, hereby state that the .32 caliber in possession of Carl W. Breihan of St. Louis County was given to me by Bill Carlisle when I visited him at his motor court in Laramie, Wyoming... He told me that this gun was used by him when he first started robbing trains." The revolver apparently stayed in Mr. Breihan's possession until 1987-88 when he sold the pistol at a Tom Keilman & Son auction. Also included in the lot is a signed, limited edition copy of Carlisle's autobiography Bill Carlisle Lone Bandit, An Autobiography, Pasadena: Trail's End Publishing Company, 1946. Deluxe first edition, numbered 305 and signed by Carlisle on the copyright page. Hard cover, with dust jacket. Additionally the lot includes an June, 1988 edition of The National Tombstone Epitaph, with an excellent account of Carlisle's life before, during and after his criminal life.

    Condition: Retaining approximately 85-90% nickel plating displaying a few small dark areas likely from holster storage. Nice case colors remain on the trigger and hammer. Mechanically sound with a bright bore. The holster is in very good condition. The book and provenance are also in very good condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    13th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 732

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