This historic Model 1862 Police revolver was manufactured in 1861 (the first year of production) and presented by Colt founder Samuel Colt to Major Charles Traintor Baker (1821–1881). It is known that Colt revolvers were specially inscribed and presented by Samuel Colt to government officials, military leaders, business associates and personal friends. It is important to note Samuel Colt died on January 10 of 1862, making this gun certainly one of his last presentation revolvers, if not his last. This is not the first gun Colt presented to Major Baker. In fact, Colt presented Baker with a cased Model 1860 (serial number 7569), and this revolver resides at New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET). The Model 1860 is pictured and described in the MET’s "Notable Acquisitions, 1983-1984" on page 25 and R.L. Wilson’s “Samuel Colt Presents” on page 174 and featured on the MET’s online catalog. The MET’s Model 1860 was also manufactured in 1861, meaning that both revolvers were presented to Major Baker at the dawning of the Civil War. According to the MET’s records, Baker served as an officer in the 5th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers at the time of the presentation. Although the writer was unable to find Baker’s name among the official Civil War record of men serving this regiment, it is interesting to note that the record does indicate a “one Colonel Baker from Windham County appearing as a military instructor of regiment.” Baker lived in Windham County where his home can still be viewed today and was an infantry tactics instructor at West Point. The rank of colonel could possibly be in error. Baker graduated from West Point on July 1, 1842. Upon graduation he was promoted to brevet 2nd lieutenant with the 3rd Infantry, served in the Second Seminole War in 1842, was in garrison at Ft. Stansbury, Florida, in 1842-1843 and Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1843-1844, was on frontier duty at Ft. Jesup, Louisiana, in 1844 and Ft. Towson, Indian Frontier, in 1844-1845 and was an assistant instructor of infantry tactics at West Point from 1845 to 1851. He retired in December 1851, possibly with the rank of 1st lieutenant. His father, Colonel Rufus Baker (1790-1868), served in the U.S. Ordnance Corps and was elected president of Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company in 1856. Samuel Colt was a master salesman above all his other attributes, and he found that the best kind of advertising that he could employ to promote his products were the products themselves. He handed out finely engraved and inscribed presentation guns to anyone he thought to be a worthy recipient. One of his guns placed in the hands of an influential person, believed Colt, would go a long way in winning support and acceptance of his products. Major Baker, an officer linked to a regiment organized in Colt’s hometown of Hartford, made a perfect candidate for one of Colt’s special presentation revolvers. The presentation of this revolver was also during a period when Colt was attempting to create a regiment fully armed with his products. This military unit became known as the 1st Regiment Colt’s Revolving Rifles of Connecticut but quickly disbanded before ever engaging in combat. Many disbanded soldiers from the Colt’s Regiment re-enlisted in the 5th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers. The 5th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers was organized in July 1861 at Hartford, participated in several engagements including Battle of Front Royal, First Battle of Winchester, Second Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Gettysburg, Atlanta Campaign and Battle of Bentonville and was mustered out of service July 1865. The factory presentation inscription to Major Baker is featured on the back strap: “Major Charles T. Baker/From Col. Colt.” (Note that the MET’s Model 1860 has an identical back strap inscription.) Most of the remaining surfaces of the revolver exhibit a beautifully executed foliate scroll engraving on a punch dot background which incorporates a wolf head on the left side of the barrel lug, the rear of the cylinder at each chamber and both sides of the hammer. The hammer spur is hand knurled and has a seven dot inverted "V" motif beneath the knurling. This style of engraving is indicative of revolvers from Gustave Young and his shop. The top of the barrel is stamped with the one-line New York address, the left side of the frame is engraved “COLT’S/PATENT,” and a cylinder flute is stamped with the patent date. The barrel and cylinder have the Colt extra high polish commercial blue finish reserved for special presentation pieces. It is truly an impressively rich finish that speaks volumes to the quality of Colt craftsmanship in the mid to late 19th century. The loading lever, frame and hammer are color casehardened, and the brass trigger guard and back strap are silver plated. The oiled one piece grip is highly figured walnut. Matching serial numbers are stamped on the frame, barrel, trigger guard, back strap, arbor pin and cylinder. The barrel wedge is un-numbered. The serial numbers on the barrel, frame, trigger guard and back strap are accompanied by a dot that indicates special attention by the factory. The factory partitioned case is lined in royal purple velvet and contains an Eley Brothers cap tin, “L” shaped wrench/screwdriver, extra hammer spring, extra hand, two extra percussion nipples, “COLTS/PATENT” marked two cavity bullet mold, package of Police combustible envelope cartridges (opened), and single face eagle Colt’s patent powder flask. Also take note that the MET's cased Model 1860 also has similar spare parts. Samuel Colt presentation revolvers are the rarest and most historic Colt percussion firearms.
Excellent. The barrel and cylinder retain 95% bright original high polish blue finish with the balance thinning to a gray. The hammer, frame and loading lever retain 85% original case colors. The grip straps retain 97% plus original silver plating. The grip is also excellent showing a few minor handling marks. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine showing minor-moderate handling/storage marks, a detached short partition wall and typical high spot wear on the lining. A high conditioned Samuel Colt presentation factory engraved deluxe Model 1862 Police revolver presented to an identified Civil War Union officer that will do well in even the most advanced Colt or Civil War collections. For the highly advanced high end Colt collector who wants to buy the best the first time around and not have to upgrade later!
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