Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1171: Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Relief Carved Grip

Auction Date: September 9, 2017

Cased and Factory Engraved, Gold and Silver-Plated Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Relief Carved Grip

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $30,000

Cased and Factory Engraved, Gold and Silver-Plated Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver with Relief Carved Grip

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1851 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36 percussion
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch
Finish: gold/silver-plated
Grip: antique ivory
Item Views: 3207
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 112
Class: Antique

Deluxe, engraved, Colt Fourth Model 1851 Navy revolver manufactured c. 1866. This revolver has a silver-plated barrel, frame, trigger guard and back strap with gold-plated loading lever, cylinder and hammer. The revolver has a highly detailed, relief-carved grip that features the Mexican Eagle and Serpent motif on the left side. The right side of the grip is decorated with an arrow-head composed of carved dots and line borders. The revolver is engraved with what R.L. Wilson identified as "Colt Late Percussion Vine Scrollwork". The intaglio, single line, engraving features well-formed scrollwork. The sides of the barrel lug are engraved with an S-curve motif with berry fill-in. This device has been noted on Model 1866 Winchesters engraved by the Ulrich brothers. The engraving on this revolver was probably executed by Herman Ulrich who engraved at Colt from 1862-1871. A cased Model 1860 Army revolver with very similar engraving and a gold and silver-plated finish is illustrated on page 148 of "THE BOOK OF COLT ENGRAVING" by R.L. Wilson. The top barrel flat is roll-stamped: "-ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-" in a single line surrounded by a scalloped border with engraved scrollwork on the muzzle end. "COLTS/PATENT" is roll-stamped on the left side of the frame in a scrollwork panel. The cylinder is roll-engraved with the Texas Navy battle scene and COLTS PATENT. The hammer has the late bordered knurling on the spur and is engraved with a hound's head motif. The full serial number, "199552" is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and back strap. The partial serial number "9552" is stamped on the cylinder. The loading lever is not numbered. All of the visible serial numbers match. The engraved components are not stamped with the single letter mark used by Colt on many pistols to designate parts intended for engraving or special finish. The revolver is complete with a mahogany case with inlaid brass shield on the lid. The case has five compartments and is lined with crimson velvet. The case contains: (1) 250 count tin of Ely percussion caps with green paper label and blue paper wrapper, (2) silver-plated, .36 caliber, double cavity, straight leg bullet mold marked "COLTS/PATENT" on the spruce cutter and "W" on the right block, (3) silver-plated American Flask & Cap Co. "Coat of Arms" pattern powder flask with fixed charger, (4) packet of six Colt's Combustible Envelope Cartridges, (5) silver-plated, L-shaped combination screw-driver/nipple wrench and (6) assorted .36 caliber lead balls and conical bullets.

Rating Definition:

Very good. The silver components on the revolver were period re-plated and retain over 90% of the silver-plated finish with smooth surfaces, crisp engraving and sharp markings The loading lever, cylinder and hammer have about 60% of the original delicate gold-plated finish intact with scattered flaking and high point wear. The percussion nipples and rear face of the cylinder show moderate flash pitting. The cylinder safety pins are battered. The action is tight and functions well. The highly detailed, relief carving on the grip remains extremely sharp. The grip has an attractive yellow patina with typical age cracks. The case exterior is in very good condition with a few insignificant dents and scratches. The relined interior is in very good overall condition with slight fading. Wear is limited to some minor tears in the lining from contact with the hammer and front sight and compression marks from the revolver cylinder. The powder flask, bullet mold and screw-driver all retain 95% of the silver-plated finish and are in excellent condition. The cartridge packet and cap tin are in very good condition. This is a good-looking example of a factory cased, gold and silver-plated Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver with relief carved grip.

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