Considered by many to be one of the finest 1860 Army's manufactured by Colt, No. 183226 remains an absolute icon in the pantheon of fine 19th century American arms, certainly the finest 1860 Army with matching deluxe shoulder stock. It was subsequently part of the famous William M. Locke collection and is pictured and described in "THE WILLIAM M. LOCKE COLLECTION" by Frank Sellers. It was later part of the esteemed Warren Anderson Collection and was purchased by Mr. Lee in March of 1993 at the first sale of the Warren Anderson Collection. This icon of its field is proudly photographed, written and discussed in many of the premiere works of literature on fine Colt's including: "Magnificent Colts the Collection of Robert M. Lee" pg. 258, "The Book of Colt Engraving" pg. 158, "Colt Engraving" pg. 185, "The Colt Heritage" pg 104 all by Wilson. It is also featured in the "The William Locke Collection" pg. 32 and the "1971 Antique Arms Annual, by the Texas Gun Collectors Association" pg. 150. The revolver and the attachable shoulder stock feature the rarely encountered Colt "Heavy Leaf" scroll engraving, identified by Wilson as the finest example of this rarely observed engravers art. This engraving style was used for a approximately one year c. 1870 and is attributed by Colt engraving expert R.L. Wilson to Conrad F. Ulrich. The engraving covers the top and sides of the barrel lug, the frame, hammer, bottom of the trigger guard bow sides of the trigger guard and back strap. A lightly cut, finely engraved line encircles both ends of the cylinder scene. The shoulder stock yoke, upper and lower tang and buttplate are also engraved with the heavy leaf scrollwork. A block "E" stamped above or below the serial number on the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap indicates those components were designated by Colt for engraving or special finish. The barrel, cylinder and back strap have a high polish blue finish and the loading lever, frame and hammer are color case-hardened. The brass trigger guard, stock yoke and buttplate are silver-plated. The one piece walnut grip and the stock are highly figured, fancy grade, walnut with a high polish piano finish. The stock wrist is checkered. The barrel has a German silver front sight blade and the hammer spur has fine bordered knurling. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "- ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-"". The cylinder is roll-engraved with the Texas Navy battle scene, "ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843" and "COLTS PATENT No.". "44 CAL" is stamped on the left shoulder of the trigger guard. The cylinder is not numbered which Wilson notes in Steel Canvas is observed on a number of highly finished deluxe Colt presentation arms during this period of the 1860's and early 1870's. The full serial number, "183226" is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap and on the lower stock tang behind the yoke. The partial serial number "226" is stamped on the buttplate heel. All of the visible serial numbers match. The revolver and stock have a French-fitted mahogany case lined with blue felt. The case contains: (1) five packets of American Cartridge Co., combustible envelope cartridges, (2) a 250 count tin of Eley percussion caps with tan paper label, (3) blued, iron, bow-leg bullet mold marked "COLT'S PATENT" on the sprue cutter and "44H" on the right block, (4) L-shaped combination screw-driver/nipple wrench and (5) Hawksley powder flask with adjustable charger.
Exceptionally fine. The barrel exhibits 85% of the original high polish blue finish showing flaking on the bottom and lower edges of the barrel lug. The cylinder retains 95% of the original blue finish and nearly all of the Texas Navy scene. All of the cylinder safety pins are intact on the rear face of the cylinder. The back strap retains 30% of the original blue finish, mostly in protected areas; the balance has aged to a smooth, silver-gray patina. 98% of the vivid original beautiful case colors are present on the loading lever, frame and hammer. The silver plating on the edges of the trigger guard and stock buttplate show some limited wear but at least 95% of the original silver-plated finish on the trigger guard, stock yoke and buttplate remains. There is some flaking visible in some light dings on the left side of the yoke. The upper corners of the grip have some finish loss and scratches from contact with the stock yoke but the grip remains in very fine condition and retains more than 85% of the original piano finish. The fancy grade presentation quality walnut stock is in excellent condition with crisp checkering. At least 95% of the piano finish remains intact. The case exterior is in good overall condition with scattered storage marks and one hair-line crack that extends from the right edge of the case to the shield-shaped brass escutcheon. The case interior is in very good condition. The lining has faded slightly and has a few scattered oil stains and compression marks. All of the cartridge packets are sealed and remain in very good condition. The cap tin is in good condition and nearly all of the paper label remains intact. The powder flask remains in very fine condition and retains 98% of the brown lacquer finish on the body and gold-plated finish on the top and charger. The combination screw-driver/nipple wrench has 90% of the fire blue finish intact. This is an extremely rare Model 1860 Army revolver. The combination of matching shoulder stock with select wood and checkering, and rarely encountered "Heavy Leaf" engraving and distinctive case make this a truly one of a kind set. This is one of the best Colt Model 1860 Army shoulder stock revolvers extant and has been part of some of the finest collections of Colt revolvers ever assembled. Provenance: William M. Locke Collection, Warren Anderson Collection and Robert M. Lee Collection.
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