Lot #3102
Lot #3104

Lot 3103: Colt Whitneyville-Hartford "Transition Dragoon" Revolver

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 8, 2019

Lot 3103: Colt Whitneyville-Hartford "Transition Dragoon" Revolver

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: December 8, 2019

Estimated Price: $65,000 - $120,000
Price Realized:

Extremely Rare Documented Colt Whitneyville/Hartford "Transition Dragoon" Revolver: The Rarest of ALL Production Model Colts

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Dragoon
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 percussion
Barrel: 7 1/4 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: varnished walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 4900
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 60
Class: Antique
Description:

This Colt Whitneyville/Hartford Dragoon revolver is pictured and extensively described on pages 128-131 of "Magnificent Colts, Vol. I" by Robert M. Lee and R.L. Wilson. Known as the "Transition Dragoon", this revolver is one of approximately 240 pistols manufactured in late 1847. The Transition Dragoons were serial numbered in the subsequent sequence to the civilian Colt Walker Model revolvers and utilized mostly refurbished parts from the predecessor model. The Transition Dragoon revolvers are significantly more rare than the very rare Walker Colt revolvers; only 15 examples are known to collectors today. This revolver is the first variation Transition Dragoon which features a cut-out at the rear of the frame which fits the curved portion of the grips. The recoil shield lacks a capping clearance groove added around serial number 1142. Other features on this revolver that distinguish Transitional Dragoon revolvers from the later Dragoon revolvers include: (1) short trigger and cylinder stop screws that do not pass through the right side of the frame, (2) steel back strap, (3) trigger guard that slants back towards the grips, (4) short trigger, (5) slender, "Slim Jim" grip and (6) tiny, Colt Walker style serial numbers. The top barrel flat and frame lack the Colt address and patent markings, a feature found on some Transition Dragoon revolvers. The revolver shows the metal flaws typical of Walker and Transitional Dragoon revolvers; these flaws include a braised-on piece on the bottom of the barrel lug. The barrel has a large, nickel-silver front sight blade. The full serial number "1144" is stamped in tiny numerals on the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap and on the side cylinder. The barrel has been shortened. The partial serial number "44" is stamped on the bottom of the cylinder pin. All of the visible serial numbers match. The wedge and loading lever are not serial numbered. A large "2" is stamped on the right side of the cylinder pin near the wedge slot, on the rear face of the barrel lug between the locating pins and on the front face of the cylinder between the chambers. "460" is stamped on the rear of the cylinder between the chambers. The barrel, cylinder and back strap are blued, the loading lever, frame and hammer are casehardened, and the brass trigger guard shows traces of tarnished silver-plating in protected areas. The one-piece walnut grip is varnished.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The revolver retains 75% of an old factory quality refurbished blue and casehardened finish with small amounts of silver plating on protected areas of the trigger guard. The description of this revolver in "Magnificent Colt" states: "Of the handful of Transition Dragoon revolvers known, serial No. 1144 rates at the very top rank. The authors have seen scarce few of this rare model, and most specimens are in quite used, often abused, condition. No. 1144 is in an admirable state of preservation". The barrel has most of the blue finish present on the lug and protected portions of the bottom with scratches and patches of light age discoloration on the sides and top of the lug. The top and sides of the barrel have a silver-gray patina with some shallow pitting near the muzzle. The front sight may be a period replacement. The cylinder has been polished and refinished during the period and shows no traces of the Ranger and Indian fight scene. A small "B" sub-inspection mark and the serial number are sharp. The front and rear faces of the cylinder and percussion nipples show moderate flash pitting and have a dark patina. The back strap has a smooth, gray-brown patina with some light pitting on the butt. There is heavy pitting in the hammer well and face of the hammer with traces of flash pitting on the hammer sides. The loading lever, frame and hammer have 80% plus of the muted, dove-gray, case colors. The brass trigger guard has traces of the tarnished silver plating present in protected areas. The balance of the trigger guard has an attractive patina and is in good-very good condition with moderate handling wear. The walnut Slim Jim grip remains in very good condition with moderate handling wear and retains 80% of the original varnish finish. This is a truly outstanding example of the extremely rare Colt Whitneyville/Hartford Transition Dragoon revolver. This rare and extremely well-documented revolver would be the stand-out piece in the finest collection of Colt firearms. Provenance: The Robert M Lee Collection.



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