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Auction Date: December 5, 2014

Lot 1311: Colt - Single Action Army

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Outstanding Henry Nettleton Sub-Inspected U.S. Colt Single Action Cavalry Model Revolver with Factory Letter
Estimated Price: $80,000 - $110,000
Item Views 173 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt - Single Action Army ManufacturerColt ModelSingle Action Army
TypeRevolver Gauge45 Long Colt Catalog Page140
Barrel7 1/2 Inch FinishBlue/casehardened GripWalnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionU.S. Contract Colt Single Action Cavalry Model revolver manufactured in 1878 and sub-inspected by Henry Nettleton (HN). The revolver is accompanied by a Letter of Authentication by Colt expert John A. Kopec. The Kopec letter states that this revolver is "totally correct in all respects" and speculates that it survived in "remarkable condition" because it was provided by the Ordnance Department to a state militia, never issued, returned to Springfield Armory following WW I and sold as surplus or distributed thru the Director of Civilian Marksmanship or held at Springfield Armory from 1878 until the 1920s and sold by the Armory. The revolver has the Colt military blue finish on the barrel, ejector housing cylinder, trigger guard and back strap. The Colt, "feathered" polishing marks are visible on the barrel on either side of the front sight blade and above the ejector housing stud. The frame, loading gate and hammer are casehardened with vivid, un-faded, case colors. The trigger and screws have a fiery, niter blue finish. The one-piece walnut grip is oil finished. The ejector rod has the early 'bullseye' head and the hammer has elongated, bordered, knurling on the spur. The distinctive, block letter, "H.N." inspection marks of Ordnance Sub-Inspector henry Nettleton are boldly stamped on the left side of the hammer, underside of the barrel, bottom or the frame above the serial number, trigger guard below the serial number and side of the cylinder. A block "N" is stamped on the right heel of the grip and on the barrel below the ejector housing stud. "P" proofmarks are stamped on the side of the cylinder and on the bottom of the barrel ahead of the "H.N." mark. A crisp "US" property mark is stamped on the left side of the frame. The left side of the grip is stamped with the date "1878" above the Ordnance final inspection mark which consists of the script initials "JEG" (Ordnance Inspector Capt. John E. Greer) with an oval border. The lower right side of the grip is boldly stamped with the Ordnance sub-inspection mark which consists of the script initials "HN" within an oval. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the third style, "bold block letter" address "COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.-". This address features a broken "T" in "PT" and has double lines under the "o" in Co.". The left side of the frame is roll-stamped with the Colt three-line/three-date patent markings. The assembly number "765" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate. A Colt "S" inspection mark is stamped in the hammer well and "C" and "G" are stamped on the barrel below the ejector housing stud. The rear face of the cylinder is stamped with a block "P" and block "H". The full serial number, "48867" is stamped on the bottom of the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The partial serial number, "8867" is stamped on the barrel beneath the ejector housing and on the side of the cylinder. All of the visible serial numbers match.

ConditionExcellent plus. The revolver retains 98% plus of the original blue/casehardened finish and, as the Kopec letter states, is "totally correct in all respects". The barrel shows traces of edge wear at the muzzle and several faint storage scratches along the right side. The ejector housing has some very minor wear on the front edge. The cylinder has light turn marks between the stops, traces of finish wear on the front edges and flutes and some very insignificant spots of finish discoloration between two of the flutes. The trigger guard has the "feathered" polishing marks on either side of the bow; wear is limited to several very faint storage marks on the grip strap. The back strap has some minor finish loss on the bottom edge. The frame, hammer and loading gate retain nearly all of the fiery case colors. Nearly all of the fire blue finish is present on the trigger and screws. The screw heads show no screw-driver wear. All of the Colt and Ordnance inspection marks are extremely crisp. The bore is mirror bright. The action functions perfectly. The grip is in exceptional condition, nearly all of the original oil finish remains, the surface is almost completely free of handling and storage marks and the "1878" date, "GEG" final inspection mark and "HN" sub-inspection mark are nearly perfect. This is an outstanding example of an un-issued Henry Nettleton sub-inspected, U.S. contract Colt Single Action revolver that would be almost impossible to upgrade.
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