Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 74: Documented Henry Nettleton Sub-Inspected Colt Single Action Army

Auction Date: September 7, 2018

Exceptional Documented Henry Nettleton Sub-Inspected Colt Single Action Army Cavalry Model Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $85,000 - $130,000

Exceptional Documented Henry Nettleton Sub-Inspected Colt Single Action Army Cavalry Model Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 Long Colt
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: cartouched walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 4821
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 40
Class: Antique
Description:

U.S. contract Colt Single Action Cavalry Model Revolver manufactured in 1878 and inspected by Ordnance Sub-Inspector Henry Nettleton (HN). Nettleton's distinctive "H.N." sub-inspection mark is stamped on (1) the underside of the barrel, (2) frame, (3) trigger guard, (4) top of the back strap, (5) side of the cylinder, and (6) left side of the hammer. The right grip heel is marked with the over-stamped initials "H/N". The right side of the grip is stamped with the script initials "HN" in an oval cartouche. The left side of the grip is stamped with the date "1878" above the script initials "J.E.G" (Ordnance Inspector Capt. John E. Greer). The full serial number is stamped on the bottom of the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The partial serial number "9167" is stamped on the side of the cylinder (the ejector housing was not removed to inspect the barrel serial number). All of the visible serial numbers match. "P" proof marks are stamped on the bottom of the barrel above the "H.N." mark and on the side of the cylinder. A "U.S." property mark is stamped on the left side of the frame. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the Colt 3rd Style ''Bold Block Letter'' address. The left side of the frame is roll-stamped with the Colt ''Three-Line/Three-Date'' patent markings ahead of the U.S. property mark. The assembly number "398" is lightly stamped on the inside of the loading gate. The ejector rod has the early ''bullseye'' head, and the hammer has the elongated ''Cavalry style'' knurling on the spur. The barrel, cylinder, trigger guard and back strap have the Colt military blue finish. ''Feathered'' polishing marks are visible on the barrel on either side of the front sight blade, above the ejector housing stud, on the trigger guard on either side of the bow and on the back strap. The frame, loading gate and hammer are casehardened with vivid case colors. The frame screws and trigger are a fiery niter blue. The one-piece walnut grip is oil finished. This revolver is accompanied by a detailed description by Colt Single Action expert John A. Kopec. The Kopec letter states: "In looking over this exceptional revolver we have determined that it appears to be totally authentic in every respect. The grip cartouches of both ordnance inspectors are outstanding. The original military blue finish and case-colors of this example remain in near perfect condition". Kopec further states: "Judging from the fine condition of the subject revolver, it would be the opinion of this writer that it had been one of the examples which had been sold by the Springfield Armory during the 1920's as surplus from brand new unissued reserves".

Rating Definition:

Excellent plus, as issued. As the John Kopec description indicates this revolver remains in nearly new condition and does not appear to have been issued. The revolver retains at least 98% plus of the original blue and vivid casehardened finish with some very minor storage wear. This wear is primarily confined to some finish loss on the cylinder behind one flute near the "P" stamping, a single light spot of discoloration on the left side of the barrel, some traces of finish discoloration on the edges of the frame and several very light scratches on the left side of the frame between the hammer and trigger screws. None of this wear is immediately visible or detracts from the overall outstanding condition of this revolver. The walnut grip is in the same excellent condition as the remainder of the revolver with nearly perfect date and Ordnance inspection marks; wear is limited to several very insignificant handling and storage marks on the sides of the grip. This is a truly exceptional example of a very desirable Henry Nettleton sub-inspected, Indian War Single Action Cavalry Model revolver evaluated and found to be "exceptional" and "outstanding" by the foremost expert on Colt Single Action Army revolvers. This is the finest Henry Nettleton we believe we have ever offered at auction!



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