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Auction Date: December 5, 2014

Lot 1270: Colt - Walker

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Impeccably Documented Captain Walker's C Company Colt Walker U.S. Model 1847 Revolver
Estimated Price: $180,000 - $275,000
Item Views 297 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - Walker ManufacturerColt ModelWalker
TypeRevolver Gauge44 Percussion Catalog Page110
Barrel9 Inch FinishBlue/casehardened GripWalnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThis is an exceptionally rare example of a U.S. Colt Walker Model revolver that was manufactured in 1847 as part of Colt's 1,000 revolver contract with the Ordnance Department. This revolver, marked: "C COMPANY No. 31" on the left side of the barrel lug, left side of the frame, side of the cylinder and bottom of the back strap, was intended for issue to C Company U.S. Mounted Rifle Regiment (USMR) commanded by Captain Samuel H. Walker. Although the 1,000 Colt Walker Model revolvers purchased by the Ordnance Department were intended for issue to the USMR operating with General Winfield Scott's army in Mexico, 214 of the 220 revolvers marked "C Company" were actually issued to the 1st Regiment Texas Mounted Volunteers by the Vera Cruz Ordnance Depot in October 1847. The Texas Mounted Volunteers were issued a total of 394 Walker Model revolvers in 1847. On May 8, 1848, the Texans turned in 191 Walker revolvers at the Vera Cruz Ordnance Depot. Only 82 of these pistols were listed as serviceable. This revolver is extremely well documented. It is listed by serial number on the first list of known Walker Model revolvers prepared by John Stapleton and Wilbur Quick in 1938 and accompanied by a 1966 bill of sale from Jackson Arms, a 1994 history from John Gangel and three-page evaluation by Colt expert R.L. Wilson. In addition, documents included with the revolver indicate that it was mentioned by serial number in the April 1970 issued of "THE GUN REPORT", the July 1969 issue of "THE TEXAS GUN COLLECTOR" and is identified in the list of known Walker Model revolvers on page 80 of "THE COLT WHITNEYVILLE-WALKER PISTOL" by LTC. Robert D. Whittington III. In addition to the "C COMPANY No. 31" markings, the right side of the lug is roll-stamped "U.S./1847" with the date partially covered by the wedge screw. The top of the lug is roll-stamped "ADDRESS SAML COLT, NEW-YORK CITY" reading towards the muzzle. The marking has been double struck by the factory. The massive 2 7/16-inch cylinder is roll stamped with the Ranger and Indian scene with "MODEL U.S.M.R. COLTS PATENT" as well as "C COM-Y N0 31" in small letters. The trigger guard is not stamped with the conventional serial number marks but the Wilson letter notes that "31" is stamped on the left side of the trigger guard strap beneath the grip. Wilson also notes that "31" is stamped: (1) on the breech end of the cylinder between two of the nipple cut-outs, (2) on the front end of the frame between the two barrel pins, (3) on the bottom of the cylinder pin and (4) on the lower spacer face on the inside of the grip. The rear face of the cylinder has a single safety pin hole and is missing the pin. The Wilson letter further notes that C Company 31 Walker is extremely important because the C Company revolvers intended for issue to Capt. Walker's command were the first examples of the new revolver issued. The C Company Walkers issued to the 1st Texas Mounted Volunteers saw extensive service during the last months of the Mexican War and many of the revolvers 'lost in service' by the Texans almost certainly saw years of service on the Texas frontier.

ConditionVery good plus. The Wilson letter describes this revolver as being in better condition than most of the known Walker Colt revolvers. (We agree with that statement!) The crisp metal surfaces have a gray patina. There is moderate-heavy pitting and abrasions on the back strap and butt. The Colt legend on the top of the barrel is faint, but the company markings on all the components but the back strap are strong. The cylinder retains well over half of the original roll-engraved Ranger scene and Colt markings with sharp company markings. There is a large area of pitting that extends over most of one chamber and between two of the cylinder stops. The distinctive wide-bottom brass trigger guard is in good overall condition with an attractive patina. The walnut grip is in good condition with moderate handling wear. The Wilson letter notes that there is an old welding repair on the left side of the barrel lug, the butt strap serial number has been cleaned, the loading lever screws and butt strap screw are old replacements and the wedge is a later Dragoon pattern. As the Wilson letter states, nearly every U.S. contract Walker revolver saw use on the frontiers of Mexico and the American West. As many as 30% of the revolvers were destroyed by burst cylinders. Approximately 10-15% of the Colt Walker Model revolvers are reportedly known to collectors. Rare and desirable in any condition, the Walker Model revolver is a prize for the advanced Colt collector. The is one of the best documented examples available and is the most sought after being from Waker's C Company.
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