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Auction Date: September 9, 2017

Lot 1162: Colt Model 1851 Squareback Percussion Revolvers

Sold for Colt Model 1851 Squareback Percussion Revolvers
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A) Colt 1851 Navy Revolver
Estimated Price: $200,000 - $325,000
Item Views 1114 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Colt Model 1851 Squareback Percussion Revolvers ManufacturerColt Model1851 Navy
TypeRevolver Gauge36 Percussion Catalog Page102
Barrel7 1/2 Inch Octagon FinishBlue/casehardened GripVarnished Walnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionDouble cased set of factory engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers manufactured c. 1851. These early production Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers have the second style "Squareback" features which include: (1) distinctive squareback brass trigger guard, (2) wedge screw located above the wedge, and (3) wedge that passes through the cylinder pin, The barrel lugs have small, v-shaped, loading cut-outs with no bevels and the flash shields lack capping channels. The barrels have brass cone front sights and the hammers have sharp bordered knurling on the spurs. The top barrel flats are roll-stamped " - ADDRESS SAML COLT, NEW-YORK CITY-" in one line. "COLTS/PATENT" is stamped in small letters on the left side of each frame in a panel created by scrollwork. The cylinders are roll-engraved with the Texas Navy battle scene and "ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843" along the edge of the cylinders. The center of the cylinders are stamped with the full serial number, "COLTS PATENT NO." and "Engraved by W.L. Ormsby. New York.". The full serial number is stamped on the loading lever, barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap and cylinder. All of the visible serial numbers on both revolvers match. Both revolvers have a punch-mark stamped above, below or at the side of the serial number on the loading lever, barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and back strap. The punch-marks were used by Colt to designate components that were to be specially finished or engraved. Both revolvers have blued barrels and cylinders, color casehardened loading levers, frames and hammers and brass, silver-plated, trigger guards and back straps. The screw heads have a fire blue finish. The one-piece walnut grips have a high gloss piano finish. The revolvers feature deluxe engraving on the barrels, loading levers, frames, trigger guards, back straps and hammers. Colt expert R.L. Wilson describes this engraving as "Early Vine Style". The engraving features finely executed Irish-style scrollwork with tight circular scrolls and zig-zag and chain link borders. The sides of the hammers are engraved with a stylized animal head motif. This engraving is attributed to Joseph Delany, an Irish immigrant who engraved revolvers for Colt from 1850-1852. A Colt Model 1851 Navy with nearly identical engraving attributed to Delany, serial number 2870, is illustrated on page 38 of "COLT FACTORY ENGRAVERS" by Herbert Houze. The revolvers have a highly polished rosewood case. The American style case is lined with crimson velvet and has six compartments. The case contains: (1) Navy size powder flask with fixed charger embossed on one side with COLTS/PATENT" and a stand of arms motif, (2) double cavity, straight leg, blued iron bullet mold marked "COLT'S/PATENT" across the sprue cutter and "36B" on the right block, (3) "L-shaped combination nipple wrench/screw-driver and (4) key. These revolvers are fully described and extensively illustrated on pages 188-191 of "The Art of the Gun, Magnificent Colts" by Robert Lee and R.L. Wilson and are pictured and described on page 89 of Frank Seller's "The William M. Locke Collection."

ConditionVery fine overall. The blue finish remains 80% intact and is flaked on the sides and top of the barrel with some superficial spots of age discoloration. 95% of the original blue is present on the cylinder which retains nearly all of the Naval scene. All of the cylinder pins are intact and the percussion nipples show almost no flash pitting. The frame, hammer and loading lever have more than 90% of the case colors intact. The trigger guard and back strap have 95% of the original silver-plated finish. The walnut grip remains in near new condition and retains nearly all of the high gloss piano finish; wear is limited to one small dent in the left side. The graceful and delicate Irish scroll engraving is crisp. The action functions perfectly. The case exterior is in fine condition with minimal wear. The crimson lining has faded slightly and has some wear on the edges of the lid with some light compression marks and minor oil stains. The Navy style powder flask is in excellent condition and has close to 95% of the brown lacquer finish on the body and gold-plated finish on the top and charger intact. The replacement bullet mold is in excellent condition and retains at least 95% of the dull blue finish with crisp markings; wear is limited to a minor dents and scratches. The screwdriver/nipple wrench as more than 95% of the fire blue finish intact. This is a rare, double cased set of Model 1851 Navy Squareback revolvers with Colt "Early Vine Style" factory engraving in exceptional condition.
B) Colt 1851 Navy Revolver
Serial #Colt 1851 Navy Revolver 36 percussion ManufacturerColt Model1851 Navy
TypeRevolver Gauge36 Percussion Catalog Page102
Barrel7 1/2 Inch Octagon FinishBlue/casehardened GripVarnished Walnut
Stock ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionAs described in "A".

ConditionVery fine with 50% of the original blue, casehardened and silver-plated finish intact. The blue on the barrel is thin with some silvering at the muzzle and along the edges of the top flat. The blue finish on the cylinder is thin with traces of pitting. The cylinder retains 95% of the Texas Navy scene. All of the safety pins are intact. The loading lever, frame and hammer have about 85% of the casehardened finish intact with some silvering on contact points. The sides of the hammer show traces of discoloration. The trigger guard and back strap retain about 85% of the silver-plated finish. The walnut grip remains in very fine condition and retains most of the piano finish with a few very insignificant handling marks. The factory engraving is sharp. Mechanically excellent. Provenance: Robert M. Lee Collection.
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