Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3: Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver

Auction Date: December 6, 2019

Factory Engraved, Gustave Young Attributed, Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Attributed as Owned by Jacqueline Kennedy's Father

Estimated Price: $7,500 - $12,000

Factory Engraved, Gustave Young Attributed, Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver Attributed as Owned by Jacqueline Kennedy's Father

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1849
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 31
Barrel: 4 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened/silver
Grip: antique ivory
Item Views: 1522
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 8
Class: Antique

Includes a copy of the Guernsey "Documents and Artifacts Relating to the Life and Career of John F. Kennedy" catalog and relevant pages from the auction catalog supplement from March 1998 listing a "Colt Six Shooter" as "American Navy presentation model, circa 1851. This steel Colt Six Shooter with ivory handle, believed to be of the Civil War era, belonged to John (Jack) Vernou Bouvier III, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy's father. It is a front load weapon. The steel barrel and side pieces have beautiful detail work." The invoices for the purchase are included as well. No serial number is mentioned. John Vernou "Black Jack" Bouvier III (1891-1957) was an sailor and soldier in WWI, a Wall Street stockbroker, socialite, the father of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (later Onassis) and thus the father-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. The revolver is actually a Model 1849 Pocket and was manufactured in 1854 and embellished by the shop of Master Engraver Gustave Young, likely by the master himself given the quality. The engraving has his classic inhabited scroll engraving which features an bird face below the hammer screw on the left and a dog face above the wedge on the right. The hammer has eight dots indicating around 80 hours were required for the engraving. Germanic scroll engraving extends to the barrel, loading lever, hammer, trigger guard, and back strap. The "COLTS/PATENT" marking is hand engraved in arches, and the barrel has "Saml Colt" likewise hand inscribed in script. Both of these are features common on Gustave Young engraved Colts, see "The Book of Colt Engraving" by R.L. Wilson for examples of Young's work such as the '51 Navy on page 59. The dot by the main serial numbers was used around 1849-1861 to denote special finishing and handling by the factory. All of the serial visible numbers match. The cylinder has the standard roll-scene and markings. "4" is marked by the serial numbers on the cylinder and barrel.

Rating Definition:

Fine with 95% plus original silver plating remaining and exhibiting dark aged patina, traces of original blue and casehardened finish, crisp engraving, moderate oxidation, patches of pitting, and general moderate storage wear. Most of the safety pins are solid. The grip is fine and has some shrinkage, attractively yellowing from age, and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine. This highly embellished Colt would be an excellent addition to any Colt or American arms collection, its apparent connection to the Kennedy family certainly enhances its desirability as a piece of Americana.

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