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Cap Guns

The end of the American Civil War brought about the introduction of toy cap guns when companies that once created real guns turned to manufacturing toy guns to stay in business. Cap guns were further popularized by the introduction of Western heroes in movies and television. The height of popularity for toy cap guns came in the 20-year span directly after World War II when cowboy heroes including The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and many more caught the attention of America’s youth.

Hundreds of companies manufactured cap guns from cast iron, plastic, die-cast metal, and wood. Toy companies including Hubley, Kenton, Kilgore, Wyandotte began entire production lines of cap guns. Cap guns almost always came with a Western-sounding name such as Mustang, Pioneer, Texan, Colt 45, or Stallion 45. Eventually, Western heroes faded from television and cinemas, creating a downturn in cap gun popularity and diminishing sales to a near standstill.

Cap gun collectors today hunt for mint and boxed examples, especially those originally in complete sets with lifelike bullets, holsters, and graphic boxes. Many collectors hunt for rare and hard-to-find unfired examples.


Quick Facts

  • Not all cap guns look like real guns. The hard-to-find Sea Serpent cap gun is shaped like an underwater goblin with snapping jaws that ignite explosive caps
  • Ives, an early American toy manufacturer, produced some of the first cast-iron cap guns in the 1860s. Its most famous cap gun is the mechanical The Chinese Must Go gun, a political slur against cheap labor in the 1880s
  • A rare The Chinese Must Go animated cast-iron cap gun with original box sold at James D. Julia Auctioneers in November 2005 for $2,640

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Kilgore Long Tom Cast Iron Toy Cap Gun
Apr 20, 9:00 AM CDT
Vintage Kilgore Long Tom Cast Iron Toy Cap Gun
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$1206 Bids
NICHOLS DYNA-MITE w/ BOX
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
NICHOLS DYNA-MITE w/ BOX
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $80- $100
$405 Bids
Lone Ranger double holster with 2 cap guns
Apr 24, 3:00 PM EDT
Lone Ranger double holster with 2 cap guns
by Chupp Auctions & Real Estate, LLC
Est: $50- $200
$753 Bids
HUBLEY RIFLEMANS FLIP SPECIAL CAP GUN
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
HUBLEY RIFLEMANS FLIP SPECIAL CAP GUN
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$603 Bids
NICHOLS STALLION 300 SADDLE RIFLE
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
NICHOLS STALLION 300 SADDLE RIFLE
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$602 Bids
Hubley
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Hubley
by Cledis Estes Auctions II
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
LOT OF TOYS GUNS
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
LOT OF TOYS GUNS
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$502 Bids
Vintage Kilgore Ranger Cap Gun & Holster Set
Apr 21, 12:00 PM EDT
Vintage Kilgore Ranger Cap Gun & Holster Set
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Toy, Cap, Mini Gun Collection
Apr 26, 8:30 AM EDT
Toy, Cap, Mini Gun Collection
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $50- $150
$251 Bid
Group of toy cap guns and holsters
Apr 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Group of toy cap guns and holsters
by Schultz Auctioneers
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
MATTEL FANNER CAP GUNS & HOLSTER
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
MATTEL FANNER CAP GUNS & HOLSTER
by Milestone Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Group of toy cap guns and cannons
Apr 19, 10:00 AM EDT
Group of toy cap guns and cannons
by Schultz Auctioneers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
MATTEL SNUB NOSE & WYANNDOTTE TOY REVOLVERS
Apr 23, 9:00 AM EDT
MATTEL SNUB NOSE & WYANNDOTTE TOY REVOLVERS
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $60- $120
$200 Bids
Group of 10 Vintage Cap Guns and More
Apr 20, 9:00 AM CDT
Group of 10 Vintage Cap Guns and More
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $30- $300
$150 Bids
Two Echo Toy Cap Guns
Apr 25, 6:00 PM EDT
Two Echo Toy Cap Guns
by Orion Antiques
Est: $50- $100
$200 Bids
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
Apr 25, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
by Orion Antiques
Est: $50- $100
$200 Bids
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
Apr 25, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
by Orion Antiques
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
Apr 25, 6:00 PM EDT
Vintage Toy Cap Guns
by Orion Antiques
Est: $50- $150
$200 Bids
GROUP OF CHILDREN'S ITEMS.
Apr 26, 10:00 AM EDT
GROUP OF CHILDREN'S ITEMS.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Cap Guns


Milestone Auctions

Milestone Auctions

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers