Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 102: Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver - London

Auction Date: September 8, 2017

Cased Exhibition Quality Gold Damascened, London Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $20,000 - $30,000

Cased Exhibition Quality Gold Damascened, London Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1851 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36 percussion
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch octagon
Finish: gold
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 7742
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 48
Class: Antique

Colt London Model 1851 Navy revolver manufactured in 1855. This revolver is complete with a factory case and accessories and has elaborate gold damascene embellishment. The gold damascene was probably applied in India during the service life of the revolver and is an exceptional example of the damascene work occasionally found on Colt percussion revolvers that were used by British officers in India or Indian royalty. The revolver has the distinctive features of Colt London Model 1851 Navy revolvers which include: (1) bordered knurling on the hammer spur, (2) un-beveled loading cut-out, (3) large iron, oval trigger guard, (4) iron back strap, (5) large hammer notch and (6) round screw heads. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "- ADDRESS COL. COLT LONDON - " with arrows at either end of the address. "COLTS/PATENT" is roll-stamped in two lines on the left side of the frame. London "Crown/V" and "Crown/CP" proof and inspection marks are stamped on the left side of the barrel lug and between each cylinder chamber. The full serial number, "32081", is stamped on the bottom of the loading lever, barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap and on the cylinder. All of the serial numbers match. With the exception of the loading lever plunger, percussion nipples and portions of the hammer below the recoil shield, the exterior of all the revolver components are either covered with intricate gold damascened floral designs or gold plated. The one-piece walnut grip has a high polish piano finish. The stained, British style, oak case has a scalloped brass plated inlaid in the lid. The lid is reinforced with ten brass screws. The case interior has six compartments and is lined with deep blue velvet. Colt's directions for loading and cleaning the revolver is glued to the inside of the lid. The case contains: (1) steel cleaning rod with steel head, (2) L-shaped combination screw driver/nipple wrench, ( 3) pewter Hawksley oil bottle, (4) 250 count tin of percussion caps with "ELEY BROS/LONDON" embossed lid, (5) iron, straight leg, double cavity bullet mold marked "COLTS/PATENT" in two lines on the sprue cutter, (6) bag shaped, Navy size, powder flask with adjustable charger, lanyard ring, brown lacquer body and gold plated top marked: "JAMES DIXON/& SONS/SHEFFIELD. (7) three spare percussion nipples and (8) one .36 caliber combustible cartridge.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. The revolver has all the original components and retains 90% plus of the intricate damascened floral decorations. There is light flash pitting on the percussion nipples, rear face of the cylinder and un-plated portions of the hammer. The Colt markings, serial numbers and proofmarks are partially covered by gold damascene but remain legible. The grip remains in very fine-excellent condition with most of the piano finish. All of the cylinder safety pins are solid. The action is tight and functions well. The case exterior is in very good overall condition with moderate handling wear. The interior is in very good condition; the dark blue velvet is bright and clean. Wear is limited to a small spot torn by contact with the front sight and several compression marks. The Colt directions remain in good-very good condition with several small tears from contact with the revolver. The Dixon powder flask has about 85% of the brown lacquer finish; the top and spring retain about 50% of the gold-plated and fire-blue finish. The cap tin has 60% of the original brown lacquer finish and contains percussion caps. The pewter oil bottle is in excellent condition. The bullet mold has a mellow dove gray patina with crisp markings and remains in very fine condition. The nipple wrench is in fair condition with traces of fire blue finish and several patches of surface rust. The cleaning rod is in excellent condition. Colt London Model 1851 Navy revolvers were popular with British officers and members of the Civil Service who served in India during the 1850s. The height was over a half century later. This revolver is an exceptional example of a factory cased London Navy revolver with intricate Indian gold damascened embellishment. This revolver was almost certainly owned by a senior military officer, or Indian royalty. It is a exceptional example of a gold Damascened Colt London Model 1851 Navy revolver.

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