Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1251: Colt Single Action Army Revolver 38-40 WCF

Auction Date: April 30, 2016

Exceptional, Historic and Previously Unknown Cuno Helfricht Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Revolver Owned by the Legendary Andrew Robertson, Cattle Baron of West Texas, with Phenomenal Documentation and Consigned Directly from the Robertson Family

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $100,000 - $150,000

Exceptional, Historic and Previously Unknown Cuno Helfricht Factory Engraved Colt Single Action Revolver Owned by the Legendary Andrew Robertson, Cattle Baron of West Texas, with Phenomenal Documentation and Consigned Directly from the Robertson Family

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 38-40 WCF
Barrel: 4 3/4 inch round
Finish: nickel
Grip: pearl medallion
Stock:
Item Views: 1837
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 128
Class: Curio & Relic Handgun
Description:

The included copy of a factory letter from 1968 confirms the revolver was shipped chambered .38-40 and fitted with a 4 3/4 inch barrel and pearl grips. The letter also states that it was factory engraved and nickel plated and it was shipped on April 11, 1917 to Stauffer, Eshleman & Co. in New Orleans. An included appraisal letter copy from Ron F. Coleman states that this revolver had "been in this one family's possession since it was first purchased and has always been displayed in a glass enclosed shadow box in the family's home." The revolver was owned by the family of Andrew Briggs Robertson (1855-1921). "Sug" as he was known to many is as near to a stereotype of the American self-made man as you can find. The included research on Robertson indicates he grew up in Texas and began his career as a cowboy at the tender age nine. He managed herds and led cattle drives from Texas to Kansas railheads in the early 1870s at the age of 18. He worked his way up the ranks and saved money in order to start a cattle empire of his own. Several reminiscences indicate that "Sug" Robertson was no man to be messed with and was foolishly courageous. In one instance, he is said to have confronted a group of cattle rustlers by himself. Their leader was impressed by his resolve, invited him to share in their beef, and promised his cattle would be left alone. Other acts of bravery included chasing down Indian horse thieves on foot. By the end of his career he had established himself as one of the largest and most successful Texas cattlemen and brought in as much as $100,000 a year and "bought and sold more cattle to the northern markets than any other West Texan of his time." At the time of his death, Robertson owned ranches in West Texas, New Mexico, and Montana. He was also an investor, banker, and merchant. The revolver has Colt "Style 2" factory engraving executed by Cuno Helfricht. Colt Single Action Army serial no. 333764 has nearly identical features and engraving and is illustrated on page 448 of "THE COLT ENGRAVING BOOK, VOLUME I" by R.L. Wilson. In the description, Wilson states that No. 333764 was personally engraved by Helfricht in 1916 and was also shipped to Stauffer & Eshleman for a buyer in Fort Worth, Texas. This revolver features the refined scrollwork on a punch-dot background, zig-zag and dot borders, and starburst designs that are characteristic of Cuno Helfricht's later work. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "COLT'S PT. F.A. MFG. Co./HARTFORD CT. U.S.A." in two lines and the left side of the barrel is roll-stamped: "38 W.C.F." in a panel formed by scroll and punch-dot engraving. The Colt "two-line/three-date" patent markings are roll-stamped in a panel formed by engraving on the left side of the frame followed by the Rampant Colt trademark in an engraved panel. The Colt "VP" proofmark is stamped on the left front trigger guard bow, and a "1" assembler's mark is stamped on the left rear trigger guard bow. The serial number, "335589," is stamped on the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The assembly number, "402" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate and the right side rear of the frame. The mother of pearl grips are inlaid with silver Colt medallions.

Rating Definition:

Excellent plus. The revolver is all original and shows only very limited wear. 99% of the original nickel-plated finish is present on the revolver. Wear is limited to one small scratch and a few minor scuff marks on the barrel and receiver and some light turn marks between the cylinder stops. The master factory executed engraving is crisp and deep. The pearl grips are in excellent plus condition with only very minor handling wear. This revolver is an exceptional example of Colt factory engraving by master engraver Cuno Helfricht and is closely associated with one of the largest 19th century Texas cattlemen. This is the first time this extraordinary Colt Single Action Army revolver has ever been offered to the collecting fraternity.



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