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Gun that could have been Belle Boyd's is sold for $8,000

April 02, 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- A gun that might have belonged to famed Confederate spy Belle Boyd of Martinsburg was sold at auction in Gettysburg, Pa., this week to a private investor for $8,000, according to the auctioneering firm that held the sale.

The .31-caliber, five-shot Allen & Wheelock revolver with ivory grips is inscribed with Boyd's name, but officials with Redding Auction Service could not be sure the firearm belonged to Boyd.

The selling price for the gun is reflective of a "very strong" collecting market right now, firearms manager Patrick Redding said.

Also sold with the gun and its case were a Colt bullet mold, brass powder flask, silver case with comb, small pocket watch and two tintypes, possibly of Boyd.

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Before the auction, Redding said he traveled to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to try to verify the gun's authenticity, but was unable to do so.

The gun is "period" and its condition fits, Redding said before the auction. The weapon, which came from a Frederick, Md., estate, had been fired, he said.

Redding Auction Service holds about 25 specialty firearm auctions each year. Redding said the sales regularly attract people from seven to nine states.

"We've got a really good following down here," Redding said.

Recognized as one of the most famous spies, Boyd shot and killed a Union soldier in 1861. During the war, Boyd provided valuable information to Confederate generals, including Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, according to historical accounts.

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