Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 5: California Pioneer Family's Pair of Colt Model 1860 Revolvers

Auction Date: December 6, 2019

Pair of Prominent California Pioneer Family Owned and Inscribed Colt Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolvers

Estimated Price: $11,000 - $16,000

A) Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1860 Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 percussion
Barrel: 5 3/4 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened/silver
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 1418
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 9
Class: Antique
Description:

Offered here is a historic pair of Colt Model 1860 Army revolvers once owned by a prominent California pioneer family. Each revolver features a professionally shortened barrel and loading lever and altered front sight as done during the period to meet the owner's specific preferences. The "A" revolver is stamped "AO LARKIN" and hand marked "LARKIN" on the left side of the grip. The "B" revolver is stamped "AO LARKIN" on the left side of the grip and on the front grip strap. The "A" revolver is assembled from various Model 1860 parts; the major components have differing serial numbers, and the butt has a San Anselmo, California Police Department marking ("S.A.P.D. No. 68"). The frame serial number ("46292") will letter as shipped to the New York Arsenal on July 19, 1862, and the trigger guard ("27717") will letter as shipped to Major George Strong, who was outfitting General Benjamin Butler's New Orleans expedition, in Boston in January 1862. With the exception of the wedge ("5800"), the "B" revolver has matching numbered parts: barrel, frame, trigger guard, back strap, cylinder ("778"), and arbor pin ("1778"). This set was discovered some 40 years ago in Northern California by noted Colt collector Les May who obtained the revolvers directly from the Larkin family. Alfred O. Larkin (1847-1917) was the son of Thomas Larkin (1802-1858), an early pioneer who helped to settle Monterey, California, and took an active role in the political and business affairs of the area. In 1834, Thomas opened the first store in Monterey, and soon after, he and his wife moved into their newly built home which cost nearly $5,000 to build or about $145,000 in today's money. The home still stands today and has been entrusted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation since 1957. In 1843, President Tyler appointed Larkin as the first and what would be the last American consul to Alta California at a time when U.S.-Mexican relations were tense. Thomas covertly worked to assure benefactors that the U.S. supported California secession from Mexico and attempted to arrange a peaceful American annexation of California with some of the negotiations taking place at Larkin's home. The Bear Flag Revolt ended any hopes of a peaceful annexation, and the short-lived independence rebellion ended with the U.S. claiming California. Nevertheless, Thomas played a crucial role in America's takeover of California. Eventually Thomas settled in San Francisco where Larkin Street is named in his honor. He continued to advocate for California statehood and pursued various California business ventures. Thomas' youngest son Alfred, who owned these two Model 1860s, was among the earliest Caucasian children born in California and as an adult eventually settled in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he married and raised his only daughter. Alfred was a man of independent means, attended Harvard, an avid traveler, and owned large investments in San Francisco property. He died in Hong Kong in 1917 while traveling in China. Comes with consignor research organized in a binder and comprised of copies of Larkin family pictures including Alfred and his daughter and articles documenting early Larkin family history, a copy of Eric Abrahamson's "Historic Monterey: California's Forgotten First Capital" documenting the Larkin house on page 47 and a copy of Charles Waldo Haskins' "The Argonauts of California," which lists Thomas Larkin as California pioneer on page 367.

Rating Definition:

Fine as assembled with U.S. shipped components (see above). 80% original high polished blue remains on the period shortened barrel with holster type wear. 40% plus faded original blue remains on the cylinder with the balance a smooth gray patina. 95% thinning original blue finish remains on the back strap. Patterns of original case colors remain on the hammer and frame, and 40% darkened original case colors remain on the loading lever. 97% original silver plating remains on the trigger guard. The grip is fine with minor dings and scratches, slightly undersized at the back strap and retaining most of the varnish. Mechanically excellent.



B) Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1860 Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 percussion
Barrel: 4 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened/silver
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 1418
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 9
Class: Antique
Description:

As described in "A".

Rating Definition:

Fine. 90% original high polished blue finish remains on the period shortened barrel, 20% original blue remains on the cylinder and 75% original blue finish remains on the back strap with the balance a smooth gray patina. 95% vibrant original case colors remain on the hammer, frame and loading lever. 40% original silver plating remains on the trigger guard. The grip is fine showing minimal minor handling marks and retaining most of the varnish which shows some blistering. Mechanically excellent.



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