Extremely fine. The gun is all original and shows only light storage and handling wear. There is no flash pitting on the percussion nipples and adjacent areas of the cylinder and frame. The gun retains at least 95% of the brown finish on the barrel, high polish blue on the frame, cylinder and trigger guard and case colors on the hammer and lever. The buttplate shows storage wear and has a silver-gray patina on the bottom with high polish blue on the heel and finial. The German silver muzzle cap, cleaning rod tip, forearm cap, wedge escutcheon and highly detailed patch box show almost no wear. The flawlessly executed vine style scroll work and detailed game scenes are extremely crisp. The relief carving and checkering on the professionally restored stock wrist (barely detectable vertical repair forward of comb) are very sharp with no significant handling wear. The piano finish on the forearm has dulled slightly from handling and the stock has a few scattered and very minor handling and storage marks. The action functions perfectly. The case is in very good overall condition. The exterior has moderate storage wear and both of the leather handles are broken. The blue felt lining is bright, clean and free from compression marks and stains. This magnificent 1855 Sidehammer shotgun is extremely rare and possibly one-of-a-kind. The deluxe engraving and finish on this shotgun are rarely found on any Colt long-arms and are equal to the best examples of cased and engraved Colt percussion handguns. This magnificent piece is worthy of a place in the finest collection of Colt firearms. This is newly discovered from family descendant of the original owner!
Deluxe presentation Colt Model 1855 Sidehammer shotgun with deluxe factory engraved German silver components and walnut case. The upper tang is engraved with the presentation inscription: "S.S. Fowler/Pittsburgh, Pa./ March 18, 1865" in three lines. This .75 caliber (10 gauge) sidehammer shotgun has a browned 36-inch part octagon barrel and high polish blue frame, five-shot cylinder, scroll trigger guard and shotgun style buttplate. The hammer and loading lever are color casehardened. The gun has a German silver false muzzle, cleaning rod head, forearm cap, forearm wedge escutcheon and wedge and highly detailed patch box. The barrel has an underlug with two ramrod pipes which support a hickory cleaning rod with German silver bulbous head and brass finial. The barrel has a brass front sight bead. The loading lever rammer has the mushroom-shaped head found on .75 caliber sidehammer shotguns. The stock and forearm are highly figured fancy grain walnut with an oiled "piano" finish. The stock features relief carved vine scrollwork surrounding two checkered panels on the wrist. The octagon portion of the barrel, loading lever, frame, cylinder, hammer, trigger guard and buttplate are factory engraved with the Colt late percussion vine style scrollwork. The scrollwork and borders on this shotgun closely resemble the engraving on Colt Sidehammer rifle serial number 11257 illustrated on page 143 of "THE BOOK OF COLT ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson. The stock is fitted with an elaborate, engraved, German silver patch box that contains a blued oil bottle in a center recess. The butt end of the patch box finial has a United States shield flanked by two highly detailed eagles; a similar shield is located on the opposite end of the patch box. The patch box lid is engraved with a highly detailed game scene that depicts a hound on point in a woodland setting. A smaller but equally detailed game scene on the bottom of the trigger guard shows a fox in a woodland setting with a barn in the background. "COLT'S PATENT Nov, 24, 1857" is engraved in a flowing ribbon on the left side of the frame. "COL. COLT HARTFORD CT. U.S.A." is roll-stamped in the sighting groove on the top of the frame and "PATENTED SEPT. 10TH 1850" is roll-stamped in one cylinder flute. The shotgun is complete with a factory walnut, American style case lined with blue felt. The case has leather handles and five compartments and contains a jointed wooden cleaning rod. Colt manufactured approximately 1,100 Model 1855 Sidehammer shotguns between 1860 and 1863. About 600 of these guns were .75 caliber. In the description of the Revolving Shotgun Model in "THE BOOK OF COLT FIREARMS", author R.L. Wilson states: "Engraved shotguns are unknown". He then notes that presentation 1855 Sidehammer shotguns are rare and limited to .75 caliber guns and that casings are "extremely rare". This shotgun is here-to-fore unknown to Colt collectors and may very well be the only factory presentation, engraved, and cased Model 1855 Sidehammer Shotgun we have ever offered.