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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 1206: Colt - New Service

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Exceptional Documented Early Production Helfricht Factory Engraved Colt New Service Revolver with Ivory Grips
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $40,000
Item Views 158 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - New Service ManufacturerColt ModelNew Service
TypeRevolver Gauge45 Long Colt Catalog Page105
Barrel5 1/2 Inch Round FinishBlue/gold GripIvory
Stock ClassCurio & Relic Handgun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is a beautiful example of an early low serial number pistol that was clearly factory engraved in the Cuno Helfricht pattern that exhibits a "C" plus (75%) coverage on all the metal surfaces except the front and rear grip straps, the cylinder flutes and the underside of the barrel. It is finished with the Colt high polish blue overall with a gold washed cylinder and is fitted with a two-piece set of smooth ivory grips. This revolver is very similar to the two revolvers shown on the back cover of the Colt Firearms book by R.L. Wilson that were prepared for the 1914 Colt exhibit in South America. This actual revolver was manufactured in late 1899 or early 1900 and exhibits all the early characteristics, such as the single line barrel address without any patent dates, the fixed firing pin, and the early style top strap that is very similar to the SAAs without the front and rear cutouts also produced during this time. The engraving was clearly done by Cuno Helfricht, or certainly in his shop by one of the Senior Engravers as it exhibits a meticulous scroll engraving that is perfectly balanced with large scrolls with a heavy punch dot background mixed with his trademark geometric pattern borders and highlights on each side of the lower frame area, the top of the barrel around the barrel markings and the top strap of frame that extends down the frame (by the sides of the hammer), the top and rear section of the back strap, and around the lanyard loop. The engraver did not sign the gun but it has the typical single Colt prick-punch dot mark on the back side of the crane and the corresponding cutout area of the frame with the typical small letter O on the left flat of the frame under the grip, both typical Colt factory inspector marks found on engraved revolvers that were unsigned. The top of the barrel bears the early one line address of "COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co HARTFORD U.S.A." with no patent dates. The left side of the barrel is marked "NEW SERVICE 45 COLT" in one line. The left side plate has the early Rampant Colt trademark encircled by "COLT'S NEW SERVICE". The low serial number, "852" is stamped on the inside of the frame and crane. The revolver has the standard clipped blade front sight and grooved receiver rear sight. The butt is fitted with a lanyard loop. The revolver has the high polish commercial blue finish with niter blue trigger and casehardened hammer and ejector rod. As noted the grips are smooth ivory without any medallions. Provenace: The Dr. Joseph Murphy Collection. The revolver is pictured and described in R.L. Wilson's book FINE COLTS: THE DR. JOSEPH A. MURPHY COLLECTION, page 165.

ConditionExcellent overall with 97% of the bright original Colt factory high polish blue finish with some slight wear or thinning on the grip straps, the front edges of the muzzle, and some general edges and high spots like the edges of the trigger guard. There is 95% of the original gold still remaining on the cylinder showing only light fading or thinning. The grips are also in excellent condition that have aged very nicely showing some slightly darker age striations running lengthwise on the sides of the grips with some very minor age cracking on the bottoms of each grip panel. It is noted that fewer than 75 New Service revolvers were ever engraved and certainly this has to be one of the earliest. Although there is no factory letter that accompanies this revolver, it would certainly be worth doing some additional research on as it had to be intended for some presentation or Colt exhibition or display and should certainly be easy to identify. A beautiful example of the Turn-of-the-Century's gun makers art.
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