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Celebrating the Legend and Legacy of an Iconic American Brand
When John B. Stetson created a hat out of necessity, he had no idea he was shaping what would become the universal symbol of the West. Stetson hats have been worn by pioneers, Patriots, Presidents, Professionals, military personnel, and ordinary people of extraordinary strength, courage and conviction. There are thousands of Western brands, but none of which are equivalent to Stetson. This is why Stetson is the hat of choice among icons such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Tom Mix, and Pawnee Bill.
Today, America Remembers is proud to honor the legacy of the Old West and the American cowboy with the John B. Stetson™ Tribute issued by America Remembers on a Colt® .45 Single Action Revolver. This Tribute is a celebration of a classic Western original and is elegantly decorated in the tradition of the finest presentation firearms. Our search for the perfect canvas was a short one. One legend of the Old West deserves another and that’s why we selected a Colt® Single Action Revolver in caliber .45 LC for this Tribute. The 1873 Colt and Stetson both conquered the Wild West at the same time. They became inseparable companions, and in this unique Tribute, they prove once again to be a perfect match.
Revolvers for this Tribute are produced by the legendary Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC. Working closely with Stetson designers, craftsmen commissioned specifically for this project by America Remembers decorate each revolver in gleaming 24-karat gold and nickel. Our partnership with the legendary hat company helped guarantee the quality of every Stetson Tribute. Our goal was to create a museum-quality firearm worthy of the John B. Stetson name and worthy of a place of honor in your collection.
The Handgun That Won the West
The Colt® Single Action Revolver may be the world’s most famous revolver. Few sidearms evoke more of the romance and adventure of the Old West. No proper cowboy mounted his horse or walked into a saloon without his Colt.
When it debuted in 1873, the Colt® Single Action Revolver was praised as “..the best weapon to carry on the person that has ever been produced.” Originally built for government service revolver trials, the Colt took top honors and became the official service sidearm of the U.S. military. Soldiers in uniform knew it as the “New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol.” Out West it became known simply as “The Peacemaker,” or “The Equalizer.”
The six-shot equalizer became the pistol of choice for lawmen and outlaws; gamblers and thieves; cowpunchers and buffalo hunters. But it became a superstar in the hands of celebrated figures like Wild Bill Hickock, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and Buffalo Bill Cody. Western movies and television shows kept the Single Action Revolver alive as a symbol of gun slinging action and adventure. Today, it’s clearer than ever that Colt created a firearm that has survived and thrived beyond its moment in history. The Single Action has become a beloved piece of America’s heritage and remains just as popular with collectors today.
An Iconic American Brand Since 1865
The story of America’s most famous hat began with the birth of John B. Stetson in 1830. Raised in New Jersey, John learned his trade in his father’s hat shop. He learned everything he could from the master hatter, but when doctors diagnosed John with a serious illness, the young man headed west. Fate put Stetson on the road to Pike’s Peak with a group of prospectors and pioneers. During the difficult journey, the hatter found a way to put his felt-making skills to good use. He fashioned waterproof tents using skills learned from his father’s factory. He also used some of the fine beaver fur to craft a wide-brimmed felt hat.
Some scoffed at Stetson’s creation. Others envied the way it kept the wearer cool in the sun and dry in the rain. Legend has it a bullwhacker bought a Stetson hat for a five dollar gold piece and the reputation of the Stetson was born.
A reinvigorated John Stetson made his way back to the East Coast. In Philadelphia he borrowed money from his sister to buy tools and fur and rent a small workspace. The John B. Stetson Hat Company opened for business in 1865. From the beginning, it was clear that Stetson hats had to be different, and they had to be better. After all, Stetson had met the rugged men of the frontier. He knew how much they valued quality and integrity. What they got was “The Boss of the Plains.” Stetson’s first original design quickly became the headgear of choice for hard-working men throughout the west. The first real cowboy hat was born.
Real cowboys appreciated the practical aspects of a Stetson. It was said that the hat “kept the sun out of your eyes and off your neck. It was an umbrella. It gave you a bucket to water your horse and a cup to water yourself.” Stetson’s creation became the most famous hat in the West, and Hollywood ensured the image of a rugged cowboy in a ten-gallon hat became a symbol of America recognized around the world.
While his cowboy clientele made Stetson a millionaire, the image of high crowned, wide-brimmed hats on the silver screen made him a legend. In serial oaters and big-budget westerns, it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad simply by the color of their hat. Put a Stetson on any movie or matinee idol and they became instant cowboys. The list could go on for a dozen pages, but Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood made sure that the legend of the cowboy lived forever. No hat in history has better captured the spirit of the American West.
The faux ivory grips feature a cowboy and his horse who first appeared on a 1920’s advertising poster above the slogan, “the last drop from his STETSON.” The painting by famed Western artist Lon Megargee became so popular that Stetson added the duo to the lining of their finest hats. You’ll also find the famous tagline featured on the Tribute’s backstrap.
Scrolls on the left side of the 5 1/2” barrel surround a decorative banner featured in 24-karat gold. The banner reads, “Stetson Since 1865”. Decorative 24-karat gold wraps around the end of the barrel near the muzzle. It complements a similar gold band near the rear of the cylinder. Additional 24-karat gold highlights can be found on the trigger, screws, and the backstrap.
This Tribute .45 Revolver is a working Colt firearm in caliber .45 LC, decorated in gleaming nickel with 24-karat gold highlights throughout by craftsmen commissioned specifically by America Remembers for this Tribute. Elegant deep etching is featured on the barrel, frame, and cylinder with a blackened patina background to highlight the details of the custom artwork.
At the top of the backstrap, you’ll find the Stetson crest embellished with a layer of 24-karat gold. The design has evolved since the early days, but it remains a mark of unparalleled quality. The two central figures are the beaver (representing the highest quality fur used in the crafting of Stetson hats) and the eagle (standing proudly for Stetson’s commitment to American manufacture). The slogan, “The Brand That Is Made of America”, communicates his patriotism without question. Our artists have also portrayed the eagle and beaver handsomely on both sides of the revolver’s hammer.
Free Display Case
Included with your Tribute is a handsome case to protect and display your John B. Stetson™ Tribute Colt® .45 Revolver.
John B. Stetson is a registered trademark of John B. Stetson Company and is under license to America Remembers®. Made in U.S.A.