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The Holy Grail Of Revolvers That Turned Out To Be Fake On Pawn Stars

Sometimes on "Pawn Stars," people bring items into the store they're convinced will bring them a massive profit but turn out to be pretty much worthless. Rick Harrison is a crusher of dreams.

A recent Season 18 episode found a seller trying to unload a soundtrack album from the classic movie "The Sting" supposedly signed by stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford, only to get egg on his face when he found out the signatures were forged. The poor mook apparently got conned at a memorabilia expo 20 years ago — a twist made particularly ironic by the fact that "The Sting" is itself about con men.

But few fake items were as disappointing or cringeworthy as the supposed massively valuable revolver a customer tried to sell in the Season 6 episode "Hot and Colt." The clip is available to watch on YouTube. The poor guy was convinced he had an exceptionally rare prototype of a historically significant gun, an 1836 Colt Paterson revolver, the first repeating firearm to be widely used. Rick said he'd never seen a prototype version, and one would be a "Holy Grail item for gun collectors." It would certainly satisfy one rule the "Pawn Stars" cast has to follow when purchasing firearms. There was only one problem: The gun was fake. 

Rick and his antique gun expert, Jemison Beshears, each took one look at it and knew it was all baloney. Sometimes the "Pawn Stars" boys get duped, but not this time.

Prototype or Faux-totype?

The seller, Michael, came into Gold & Silver Pawn and told Rick he wanted to sell his gun. He planned to use the proceeds to buy a house in California to be closer to his son. He was hoping to get something close to $100,000 for the weapon. Little did he know how disappointed he was about to be.

Michael explained to Rick that he bought the gun from an online auction house, and he suspected from the way the screws were situated that it might be an unproduced prototype of the original Paterson. He convinced himself he was getting a deal when he paid about $4,000 for it. But Rick was immediately skeptical when the gun didn't have the type of wear and tear he'd expect a Colt Paterson to have. Michael insisted it was a prototype.

So Rick called in antique firearms appraiser Jemison Beshears, who threw some more cold water on the seller's dreams. He took out his copy of the definitive book on Colt guns and compared the supposed prototype to a photo of a real Paterson. "If you look at all the models in this book, none of them look like this," he said. Michael remained convinced that the screws meant it was a prototype, but Jemison observed that one of the screws appeared to be a modern screw. In his expert opinion, it was a fake.

It's a cautionary tale. If you think you've found the Holy Grail at a store that sells grails, you probably haven't. And if you think you've found something extremely rare and valuable that no one else noticed, you need to do a little more research before you buy.