Elvis Presley’s Smith & Wesson Pistol Sold For Nearly $200,000
This gorgeous wheelgun celebrating American Independence is one of nearly 300 firearms owned by the King.
One of the King’s firearms recently fetched a kingly sum. An exceptionally preserved and custom-engraved Smith & Wesson revolver owned by Elvis Presley shattered expectations at Rock Island Auction Company’s August Premiere Auction, selling for more than three times the top end of its estimated value.
The esteemed weapons dealer that previously sold President Theodore Roosevelt’s bedside handgun had set the pre-auction valuation range between $60,000 and $90,000 for a Smith & Wesson Model 53 acquired by Presley in 1976, just a year before his death. The gun ended up going for an astounding $199,750, besting two other Presley-owned pistols—a $195,500 Smith & Wesson Model 19-2 and a $172,500 Colt Python—that RIAC had previously auctioned in 2017.
According to RIAC, Presley was a bonafide collector who’s believed to have owned nearly 300 guns in his lifetime and boasted 37 pieces at the time of his death. He knew how to shoot, too, having earned sharpshooter badges for the Colt M1911 and M1 Garand during his brief time in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1960.
Though he never saw combat, the always-armed Presley was known to spontaneously take target practice on televisions after his military career—he famously shot a 25-inch RCA set on a whim upon witnessing a performance by American singer Robert Goulet.
This weapon was originally manufactured in 1974 but returned to the S&W factory in 1976 to be customized for Presley by the American firearms manufacturer’s master engraver, Russell Smith.
What resulted was a positively patriotic celebration of American Independence in the country’s bicentennial. Among Smith’s embellishments include gold “1776-1976” engravings on either side of the barrel, an eagle grasping a 13-star Betsy Ross American flag on the side plate, a “SPIRIT OF ’76” banner above the eagle, a gold minuteman on the side of the frame, and a Liberty Bell relief on the back strap.
Additionally, nearly all exposed metal surfaces are covered in detailed floral scrollwork, and signatures from Smith appear on the underside of the ejector shroud and at the rear of the side plate.
Provenance aside, Presley’s custom Smith & Wesson Model 53 was in excellent condition, with 99 percent of the bright S&W factory blue finish retained and only slight signs of usage. It just might be the ultimate piece of Elvis memorabilia.