Weldon Lister (l) is pictured in 2005 with his father, W.E. “Big Bill” Lister, discussing some work on a Colt revolver.
Well-known Master Engraver, Weldon Lister from Boerne, Texas, just sent in these images of his most recent creations. Obviously, this isn’t his first trip to the rodeo!
Until 2012, Weldon served as a firefighter and paramedic with the San Antonio Fire Department, retiring after 27 years with a Lieutenant ranking. Currently, he is a full time firearms freelance engraver, creating unique objets d’art by delicately cutting and inlaying a variety of metal objects, including guns, belt buckles, jewelry, and even spurs!
Lister is a third generation hand engraver – his father, the late W.E. “Big Bill” Lister, began training him at the age of 17 in 1979. The elder Lister had learned jewelry engraving from his uncle, Austin Lee Lister, in the late 1940s and worked as a gun engraver with the late Frank Hendricks, who is recognized as the first president of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA).
The 100% engraving coverage on these two recently manufactured, non-consecutively numbered Colt Commanders is stunning, and visually aided by the antique nickel-plated finish followed by an ink and bake treatment.
Colt semi-auto pistol aficionados will immediately recognize that a 1911 spur style hammer, and a Series 70 short trigger, grip safety, and smooth flat mainspring housing have replaced the original factory parts. Lister’s customer initially intended for these Commanders to be concealed carry pistols, but after he received them, he quickly decided they were too gorgeous to keep hidden!
More than anything else, the contrast and shadow details really make the engraving on these two Commanders pop. Their eye appeal certainly has been enhanced by the satin antique nickel-plated finish and the baked on ink treatment. Checkered “Double Diamond” ivory grips have been flawlessly executed by Paul Persinger. Additionally, Marvin Huey will be making a presentation case for this pair now affectionately known as the “Babies.”
Here’s how Lister describes his work on these Commanders, “I engraved all available surfaces with a combination of American scroll and large English scroll separated by geometrical borders. In addition to liberal geometric borders, sculpted floral accents were added in various locations as additional eye-candy.”
I know what you’re thinking – how long did it take Lister to do the engraving, how much did it cost, and what are they worth now? The answer to the first question is 250 hours per pistol. The second question can only be answered by Lister and the patron who ordered the engraving, and they’re not talking! As for the third, it all depends on how much the next potential buyer likes the guns and is willing to spend without waiting for Lister to complete another similar pair.
Editor’s Note: For more information and images of Weldon Lister’s wide variety of engraved artifacts, visit www.weldonlister.com, or refer to pages 253-262 in American Engravers, the 21st Century, by Roger Bleile (now out of print). Also refer to a previous Gun of the Week featuring a Lister engraved Colt SAA Texas Ranger Commemorative.