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Auction Date: September 9, 2017

Lot 1161: Factory Engraved Tri-Color, Carved Grip Colt Model 1862 Revolver

Sold for Factory Engraved Tri-Color, Carved Grip Colt Model 1862 Revolver
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Documented Gold and Silver Plated Factory Engraved "Tri-Color" Colt Model 1862 Pocket Navy Percussion Revolver with Patriotic Relief Carved Grip
Estimated Price: $40,000 - $60,000
Item Views 696 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Factory Engraved Tri-Color, Carved Grip Colt Model 1862 Revolver ManufacturerColt ModelPocket Navy
TypeRevolver Gauge36 Percussion Catalog Page100
Barrel4 1/2 Inch Octagon FinishSilver/gold/casehardened GripAntique Ivory
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionManufactured in the 1860s, this is a very fine example of a scarce factory engraved "tri-color" Colt Model 1862 Navy percussion revolver. Some estimates suggest only five Pocket Navies had this rare combination of finishes. This revolver is documented in R.L. Wilson's "The Colt Engraving Book, Vol. 1" on page 272 and Wilson and Robert Lee's "The Art of the Gun" on pages 234 and 276-279. According to Wilson, the revolver was "from a limited group of engraved examples with characteristic features of casehardened frames, and gold plated hammer, cylinders and loading levers and silver plated back straps, trigger guard straps and barrels." The grip has a high relief carving of the Goddess of Liberty and an American eagle and shield motif on the left side. Wilson notes similar examples that fall into the 5540 and 5570 serial number range. The gold and silver finish and embellishments suggests that the revolvers were part of a Colt exhibition display such as the Hartford County Fair held in October 1866 where it was reported, "Colt's Arms Company made a fine display of pistols, some of them of elaborate and costly finish, all enclosed in a glass case." The complete matching serial number is marked on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and back strap with "IE" stamped above or below each number. The "I" designates special factory grips, and the "E" designates factory engraving. Matching numbers are also found on the cylinder, loading lever and barrel wedge. The barrel, frame, hammer, loading lever and grip straps feature a loosely constructed foliate scroll engraving that was likely done by Master Engraver Conrad F. Ulrich whose work is characterized by broadly constructed scrollwork. The hammer also has a wolf's head typical of Colt engraved percussion revolvers from the period. The cylinder has the standard stagecoach holdup scene along with "COLTS PATENT" above the serial number. The left side of the frame is marked "COLTS/PATENT," the left side of the trigger guard is marked "36 CAL," and the top of the barrel has the one-line New York address. The combination of engraving, finishes, and carved grip certainly make it unique among Colt percussion revolvers! The partitioned case has blue velvet lining and contains a combination tool, W. & C. Eley cap tin, sealed package of 5 combustible envelope cartridges and double face eagle powder flask. Provenance: Peter Holder, The Robert M. Lee Collection.

ConditionVery fine. The barrel retains 95% plus original silver plating, and the grip straps retain 40% original silver plating with the exposed brass having an attractive aged patina. Traces of original case colors remain on the frame in the protected areas. The remaining surfaces retain 80% original gold plating. Most of the cylinder scene remains. The grip is fine with some age cracking (mostly on the bottom) and a couple shallow nicks along on the bottom edge. The grip has a very attractive color. The engraving and markings are crisp. The action needs work as the cylinder is out of time. The case is very good plus showing a few cracks along the grain and worn lining. Overall, an outstanding and lavish cased set compounded by rarity and condition.
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