Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 8: Col. Samuel Colt Presentation Colt Model 1855 Root

Auction Date: December 6, 2019

Historic Cased Factory Engraved and Col. Samuel Colt Presentation Colt Model 1855 Root Percussion Revolver Inscribed to Civil War Union Major General and Illinois Governor John McAuley Palmer

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $9,500 - $16,000

Historic Cased Factory Engraved and Col. Samuel Colt Presentation Colt Model 1855 Root Percussion Revolver Inscribed to Civil War Union Major General and Illinois Governor John McAuley Palmer

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1855 Root Pocket
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 28 Percussion
Barrel: 3 1/2 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: highly figured walnut
Item Views: 2307
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 16
Class: Antique

Factory engraved and cased Colt Model 1855 Sidehammer Pocket Revolver engraved on the back strap: "To John McAuley Palmer Esq/WITH COMPLEMENTS OF COL. COLT". Manufactured in 1859, this Model 2 1855 Sidehammer revolver has a 3 1/2-inch octagon barrel with brass cone front sight, part round/part octagon loading lever and unfluted, five shot, .28 caliber cylinder. The top of the barrel has the two-line Hartford address with pointing hand motif and the cylinder is hand engraved with the Cabin and Indian scene and "COLTS PATENT" markings. The serial number is stamped on the underside of the barrel, side of the cylinder and butt. All of the visible serial numbers match. The barrel, frame and cylinder have the Colt high polish blue finish. The loading lever and hammer are color casehardened. The one-piece grip is nicely figured walnut with a high polish piano finish. The barrel, loading lever, frame, hammer, back strap and rear portion of the cylinder are engraved with relief cut Germanic scrollwork on a punch-dot background. The engraving was executed for Colt by Gustave Young, and his telltale punch dots are present on the hammer below the spur. Each dot represented a 10 hour day of work. The hammer on this richly embellished revolver has ten dots. Samuel Colt presented a number of cased and engraved Model 1855 Sidehammer revolvers to friends and business associates. Included with this revolver is a script signature of John Palmer. The revolver is complete with a Colt mahogany American style case and period accessories. The case has five compartments and is lined with brown velvet. The case contains: small tin of F. Joyce & Co. No. 21 percussion caps, brass bow-leg double cavity bullet mold stamped "COLTS/PATENT" on the sprue cutter and "K" on the side of the right block, pocket pistol powder flask with fixed charger embossed on both sides with an eagle and shield, crossed revolvers and "E.PLURIBUS.UNUM" in a ribbon, key and numerous .28 caliber round bullets. John McAuley Palmer (1817-1900) was a Civil War Union Major General, 15th Illinois Governor, Illinois State Senator, United States Senator and United States presidential candidate. Prior to the Civil War, Palmer was an ardent abolitionist and served in the Illinois State Senate as both a regular Democrat and independent Democrat. In 1856, however, he played a major role in the formation of the Illinois Republican party and ran as a Republican in 1859 but was defeated. During the Civil War, Palmer reached the rank of major general, commanded a division under John Pope, and was promoted to the command of XIV Corps which he led at Chattanooga and in the Atlanta campaign. He was relieved from command at his own request in August 1864 "as a result of a quibble over relative rank, an incident which did not reflect particularly favorably on him." The incident resulted in him being reassigned to command all Federal forces in Kentucky. He remained in the Army until 1866. During his postbellum career, Palmer was elected governor of Illinois on the Republican ticket in 1868 but soon turned his allegiance back to the Democratic party. In 1891 he was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. Five years later Palmer and ex-Confederate General Simon Buckner ran an unsuccessful bid for U.S. president and vice president respectively as Gold Democrat candidates. Palmer and Buckner received just over 1% of the vote. Comes with research related to Palmer including military service records, letters (copies) and secondary source material with letters including one letter from dealer Arnold Chernoff to the current consignor's father about the sale of this revolver.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The revolver is all original and retains 40% plus of the high polish blue and casehardened finish. Significant amounts of blue are present on protected areas of the barrel and frame; the balance of the metal surfaces have a smooth and very attractive blue-gray patina. The cylinder has an even blue-gray patina and retains nearly all of the hand engraved Cabin and Indian scene. The hammer and loading lever have nearly 80% of the casehardened finish. The grip is in very fine condition with most of the original finish and a few scattered and very minor handling marks. The flawlessly executed Germanic scroll engraving is extremely crisp. The Colt presentation on the back strap is sharp. The action is tight and functions well. The case exterior is in fine overall condition with a few scattered handling marks. The interior lining is faded, and the case bottom is discolored with some minor tears and compression marks. The accessories are in very good overall condition. The cap tin and flask are period but not original to the casing. Colt firearms engraved with Samuel Colt presentations are rare and extremely desirable. This Colonel Colt presentation high quality, factory cased and engraved Colt Model 1855 Sidehammer revolver would be a standout piece in any advanced collection of Colt forearms.

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