Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3119: Colt 1861 Navy Revolver 38 CF

Auction Date: May 2, 2014

Rare Documented Factory Engraved, Colt Model 1861 Navy Richards-Mason Conversion with Tiffany Grip

Estimated Price: $50,000 - $75,000

Rare Documented Factory Engraved, Colt Model 1861 Navy Richards-Mason Conversion with Tiffany Grip

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1861 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 38 CF
Barrel: 7 1/2 Inch
Finish: silver-plated
Grip: tiffany
Item Views: 2478
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 63
Class: Antique

This is an extraordinary example of a Tiffany Gripped Factory Engraved Colt Model 1861 Navy conversion revolver. The revolver was factory converted by Colt to caliber 38CF Richards-Mason c. 1872-1874 and fitted with the rare "Civil War Battle Scene" Tiffany grip with "American Eagle" buttcap. This revolver is illustrated on page 295 of "THE COLT ENGRAVING BOOK, VOLUME ONE" by R,L Wilson and pictured and described in detail on pages 256-257 of "A STUDY OF COLT CONVERSIONS" by R. Bruce McDowell. Bruce McDowell describes the revolver as the most often photographed and most valuable Tiffany gripped Colt Model 1861 factory-engraved revolver. The revolver barrel lug, muzzle, ejector housing, cylinder, frame, and trigger guard are decorated with Gustave Young's Germanic scroll-work on a punch-dot background. The conversion ring and loading gate are engraved with scalloped and double-line borders. The sides of the hammer are engraved with Young's signature wolf's head motif. McDowell notes that engraving on the recoil shield was carefully redone to match the original percussion engraving. The barrel lug and trigger guard have the punch-mark above or below the serial number which indicates that the components were designated by the Colt factory for engraving. The Tiffany grips have highly detailed, relief-cast, Civil War battle scenes in oval panels on the sides, an escutcheon and stand of arms with United States shield on the back and relief-cast eagle on the butt. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "-ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-". The full serial number, "8875" is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame and trigger guard. The assembly number "844" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate. The revolver has a .38 centerfire hammer with bordered knurling on the spur, round ejector rod tip, ejector rod with concentric rings and loading gate with external spring. This revolver was originally one of a matched pair and is illustrated in both the Wilson and McDowell books with an identical Tiffany grip Model 1861 Richards-Mason conversion serial number 9200. This revolver may be the best documented factory engraved Colt Model 1861 Navy Richards-Mason conversion revolver with Tiffany grips extant.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The revolver has a very attractive, silver-gray, patina on the barrel, ejector housing cylinder, frame and hammer. The sides of the hammer have moderate flash pitting. The surfaces of the other components have no pitting and the highly detailed scroll engraving is deep and sharp. The brass trigger guard has significant amount of silver plating in protected areas. The Tiffany grip is in very fine condition with crisp detail. The relief portions of the grip are polished from contact; the Civil War scenes are copper colored and the eagle butt and protected areas of the grip have a contrasting silver mixed with dark patina. This is an outstanding Factory Engraved Colt Model 1861 Navy Richards-Mason conversion revolver with rare and highly desirable Tiffany "Civil War Battle Scene" grip.

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