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The revolver was discovered by the auctioneers’ Glasgow office when they were asked to clear a house belonging to a deceased elderly lady. Offered with an estimate of £80,000-120,000, the revolver generated considerable pre-sale interest and there were plenty of would-be purchasers up to the £160,000 mark.

The winning £200,000 bid was made by a collector in the room against American underbidding on the telephone.

What makes this Colt so desirable is its combination of rarity, completeness and original condition. This particular version of the famous make, a Colt Paterson No.2, is the deluxe model with engraved detailing to the barrel and cylinder roll and silver banding at various points along its length and only a handful were produced. It had survived in what Bonhams consultant David Williams described as “virtually untouched” condition with much of the original finish and all its accessories. “A deservedly remarkable price for a remarkable object,” was Mr Williams’ verdict on the result last week.

The San Francisco auctioneers Butterfield & Butterfield sold a similar deluxe Colt Paterson in July 1992, as part of the Warren Anderson Collection, for $220,000 (£118,920).