Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1129: U.S. Contract Colt Model 1861 Navy Revolver

Auction Date: September 12, 2020

Extremely Rare and Outstanding U.S. Civil War Contract Colt Model 1861 Navy Revolver

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $110,000 - $190,000

Extremely Rare and Outstanding U.S. Civil War Contract Colt Model 1861 Navy Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1861 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36 percussion
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 2634
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 126
Class: Antique

This extraordinary martially inspected U.S. Colt Model 1861 Navy revolver was manufactured in 1862 as part of a 2,000 gun contract with the Ordnance Department, signed on April 13, 1861. Although the Ordnance Department subsequently purchased 363 additional Model 1861 Navy revolvers from Colt distributors, the 2,000 pistols purchased under the April 1861 contract were the only Ordnance inspected, military finished, Model 1861 Navy revolvers manufactured by Colt during the Civil War. After the U.S. Contract Walker Colt revolvers, the U.S. Contract 1861 Navy revolvers are the rarest U.S. martial Colt percussion handguns. This revolver has the Colt military finish with low-polish blue barrel and cylinder, color casehardened loading lever, frame and hammer, natural brass trigger guard and back strap and oil-finished, walnut grip. The wedge, screws and trigger are fire blue. The barrel has a nickel-sliver front sight and the hammer has a sight notch and hand-knurled spur. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "-ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-" reading toward the breech. The cylinder is roll-stamped with the Texas Navy battle scene with "ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843." on the leading edge. "COLTS PATENT NO." and the serial number are stamped on the cylinder center-line. "COLT'S/PATENT" is stamped in two lines on the left side of the frame. The full serial number is stamped on: (1) the bottom of the barrel lug, (2) side of the cylinder, (3) underside of the cylinder pin, (4) bottom of the frame, (5) bottom of the trigger guard and (6) bottom of the back strap. The wedge is numbered "8893". The lower left side of the grip is stamped with an Ordnance inspection mark consisting of the script initials "PB" surrounded by a rectangle with rounded ends. Small "B" Ordnance sub-inspection marks are stamped on the right side of the barrel lug and side and back of the cylinder. A "L" sub-inspection mark is stamped on the top of the back strap. The inside of the grip strap is stamped with two "S" sub-inspection marks. A "C" sub-inspection mark is stamped on the left side of the barrel lug. A "T" sub-inspection mark is stamped on the bottom of the left grip heel.

Rating Definition:

Excellent. This rare U.S. Contract Model 1861 Navy revolver retains 95% of the original military blue and color casehardened finish with minimal handling wear. The military blue barrel has the 'feathered' polishing marks visible on either side of the front sight blade. There is some slight discoloration on the sides of the muzzle below the front sight and on the lower right side of the lug. The barrel legend and inspection marks are extremely sharp. The cylinder has 95% of the roll-engraved naval scene intact with crisp serial number and sub-inspection marks. There is discoloration and traces of flash pitting between two chambers where it appears the revolver was fired once and not immediately cleaned. One of the six safety pins is slightly flattened. The loading lever, frame and hammer retain 98% of the vivid case colors. The wedge, trigger, barrel, frame, and grip screws have 90% plus of the original nitre blue finish. The natural brass trigger guard and back strap have a very attractive, un-touched patina and remain in excellent condition. The one-piece grip has a near-perfect Ordnance inspection mark and is in excellent condition with nearly all of the oil finish intact. Wear is limited to a very insignificant handling mark on the right side and six tiny dings in the bottom right side of the grip. This is an outstanding example of an extremely rare, fully inspected, U.S. Contract Model 1861 Navy revolver. These revolvers are rare in any condition and almost never seen with any amount of original finish. This is the finest example we have ever offered at auction of this rare and highly desirable variation of a U.S. martial Colt revolver. Provenance: Chris Anderson, Al Cali, property of a gentleman.

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