Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1240: Colt 1851 Navy Revolver 36 percussion

Auction Date: April 30, 2016

Factory Engraved, Gold and Silver Plated Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with Rare Tiffany Grip Documented and Pictured in the Book of Colt Engraving

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $37,500

Factory Engraved, Gold and Silver Plated Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with Rare Tiffany Grip Documented and Pictured in the Book of Colt Engraving

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1851 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36 percussion
Barrel: 7 1/2 Inch
Finish: gold/silver-plated
Grip: silver
Item Views: 3050
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 120
Class: Antique

This Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver was manufactured in 1863 and is fitted with an original silver plated Tiffany grip. This revolver is illustrated and described on page 166 of "THE BOOK OF COLT ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson. The revolver has the late Colt factory "Vine Style" scroll engraving on the frame and barrel with additional engraving by master engraver L.D. Nimschke. In the description of this revolver in "THE BOOK OF COLT ENGRAVING" Wilson states: "The factory running vine scrolls on the revolver appear to be augmented by the Nimschke pattern scrollwork on the cylinder. The arrow and crossed bands motif (both sides of the barrel) and the twirl pattern lever design are other distinctive LDN motifs". A punch-dot which indicates that the part was designated by Colt for engraving or special finish is stamped next to the serial number on the barrel, frame and trigger guard. The revolver barrel, frame, hammer and trigger guard are gold plated and the loading lever and cylinder are silver-plated. In addition to the Colt Hartford and Nimschke New York engraving, the revolver is fitted with rare and extremely desirable cast bronze silver-plated Tiffany grip. The grip features highly detailed Civil War battle scenes on both sides and an American eagle motif on the buttcap. The grip is identical to the detailed illustration on page 167 of "THE BOOK OF COLT ENGRAVING". The top of the revolver is roll-stamped: "ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA" within an engraved panel. "COLTS/PATENT" is roll-stamped in an engraved ribbon on the left side of the frame. "36 CAL" is stamped on the left side of the rear trigger guard bow. The full serial number, "163826", is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame and trigger guard, and the partial serial number "3826" is stamped on the lever. All of the visible serial numbers match.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The revolver is all original and retains nearly 30% of the gold and silver-plated finish. The exposed metal surface shows traces of age discoloration but are generally smooth with no pitting. There is some very light flash pitting on the percussion nipples. All of the cylinder safety pins are complete. The Colt and New York engraving is deep and sharp. The Tiffany grip is in fine condition and retains nearly 50% of the finish with moderate high point wear. The highly detailed battle scenes and eagle motif are crisp. The factory markings on the barrel, frame and trigger guard are sharp. The action is tight and functions well. This is a fine, documented example of a Colt factory engraved Model 1851 Navy revolver with additional engraving by L.D. Nimschke or his shop, gold and silver-plated finish and rare and very desirable Tiffany grip.

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