Rock Island Auction Company is pleased to present Colt No. 5 Texas Paterson Revolver serial number 361, an extremely rare factory engraved and well-documented piece of Colt history. Approximately 1,000 No. 5 Texas Paterson revolvers manufactured by Samuel Colt's Patent Arms Manufacturing Company from 1838-40. The No. 5 Holster Model were the largest of all the Paterson handguns and achieved fame as a result of their use by Captain Jack Hays and other Rangers on the Texas frontier. In fact, a major purchaser of the No. 5 was the Republic of Texas. Samuel Walker was familiar with the No. 5 during his days as a Texas Ranger and used the revolver to great effect. His experience with the Paterson persuaded him to advocate for a larger, quicker loading revolver powerful enough to kill either a man or horse with a single shot. His discussions with Samuel Colt led to the Colt Walker Model revolver in 1847. What followed next was a rapid evolution in revolver design spearhead by Colt who introduced the Dragoon series of revolvers that were based on the Walker design. Samuel Walker is often credited for establishing early Colt revolvers as an effective handgun. The Walker and Dragoon revolvers definitely provided Colt with financial relief and fame. This particular No. 5 has extremely rare Colt factory engraving and silver bands. Colt Paterson expert R.L. Wilson stated in "The Paterson Colt Book” that only 5-7% of the approximately 2,850 Colt Paterson handguns were engraved. This statistic is repeated in Serven and Metzger’s “Paterson Pistols” on page 27 along with the equally small figure of the total of Colt Paterson revolvers featuring silver inlays which stands at 8%. Silver bands may or may not be encountered on engraved specimens. By our account there are 15 known factory engraved No. 5 Texas Patersons revolvers. Nos. 351, 372, 519, 530, 603, 755, 759, 882, 886, 944, and 985 are in private collections. No. 346 is part of The Hermitage Museum collection in St. Petersburg, Russia. No. 984, which was originally from Samuel Colt’s collection, now resides at Wadsworth Atheneum. No. 940 is housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and was gifted to the museum by John Parsons. Finally, there is this example, no. 361, waiting to be included in your collection. Featuring finely engraved vignettes, this example is arguably one of the most elaborately engraved Patterson revolvers known in existence. To use Wilson’s words, these “seldom encountered” vignettes are the single bird heads on both sides of the barrel lug and a head of a mighty stag on the underside of the frame. “Scenes were seldom used in Paterson engraved décor,” noted Wilson. Serial number 857, a No. 2, features a dog on the underside of the frame and a hand holding a dagger on the back strap, and serial number 506, a No. 2, features an engraved anchor on both sides of the barrel lug and a dog on the underside of the frame. The No. 5 offered here is mostly certainly the only Paterson known in existence to be decorated with this unique combination of engraved and silver inlaid motifs. All of these embellishments were done on contract, as Colt would not employ in house engravers for several more years. As a master showman and proud inventor, Colt understood the notion that presentation is important. As production of Patersons commenced the practice of embellishing his arms happened in tandem. The sides of the barrel lug, the sides of the frame, the recoil shields, the hammer, the back strap, and the butt are decorated with floral scrollwork. The barrel is factory inlaid with five silver bands, has a German silver front sight blade and is roll-stamped "- Patent Arms M'g. Co. Paterson, N.J. - Colt's Pt. -" reading from the breech to the muzzle with “star & snake” terminals at either end of the legend. The five-shot cylinder is roll engraved with the stagecoach holdup scene and is marked "COLT." The hammer spur has heart-shaped knurling. The serial number “361” is on the rear face of the barrel lug, rear face of the cylinder, wedge, trigger, cylinder collar, inside of the back strap, and grip inlet. This No. 5 has been well-documented over the years and has been featured in R.L. Wilson’s “The Book of Colt Engraving” on page 6 and “The Colt Engraving Book, Vol. I” on page 10 and on the cover of the February 1989 issue of “The Gun Report” and has been owned by prominent collectors such as Richard Moore and George Repaire (who also owned “The Sultan of Turkey Dragoon”).
Fine as the revolver has aged to an attractive even gray patina. The cylinder shows some typical light flash type pitting and retains most of the scene. The engraving is crisp. The grip is also fine with a couple tiny chips and attractive grain and mellow aged appearance that contrasts well with the metal surfaces. Mechanically excellent. All Paterson Colt revolvers are rare and highly desirable. Paterson Colts with inlaid silver bands or engraving are extremely rare and are part of prestigious museum collections throughout the world. For the serious Colt collector, this is quite possible a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a truly one of a kind, uniquely configured, well-documented No. 5 Texas Paterson. Provenance: The Curt McClymond Collection.
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