This stunning work of Colt factory artistry is pictured and identified in R.L. Wilsons The Colt Engraving Book, Volume One on page 430 as the work of "Cuno Helfricht himself." The accompanying factory letter for when shipped to Schoverling, Daly & Gales of New York City on August 6, 1900. This shipment was for three revolvers. Helfricht spent his nearly 50 year career exclusively with the Colt firm (1871-1921). During his tenure with Colt, Helfricht saw the transition from percussion to cartridge firearms and a rapidly growing market for engraved firearms. At the height of the firearm engraving fad, he oversaw a shop of six engravers. By the turn of the century, experts believe Helfricht did most of the work himself with the help from one to two assistants. Helfricht's successor's included famed Colt Master engravers Wilbur Glahn and William Gough. The Classic Wild West style of scroll and border work, as Wilson poetically described the embellishment, displays patterns that are typical of Helfricht's work. The beautiful C coverage displays scroll patterns on a punch dot background along with fan/sun burst patterns on the recoil shield, loading gate and top of back strap, zig-zag line geometric patterns on the back strap and butt, star burst motif on the trigger guard bow and zig-zag line/snake patterns on the ejector rod housing and top strap. Ahead of the one-line Hartford barrel address is an engraved foliate flourish. "45 COLT" inside a banner is amongst the scrollwork on the left side of the barrel. Additional foliate and zig-zag line patterns appear on the cylinder. The left side of the frame has the typical two-line, three patent dates marking followed by a circled Rampant Colt. The pearl grips feature a wonderful deep relief carved steer head with ruby eyes on the right panel. Matching full serial numbers are on the frame, trigger guard and back strap, while the rear cylinder face has the matching last two digits of the serial number. Provenance: The Esteemed Dr. Paul R. McCombs III Collection, Collection of a Gentleman
Excellent, retaining 95% original nickel finish with flaking on the balance (mostly on the grip strap and ejector rod housing). 70% original niter blue remains on the screw heads. The engraving is crisp. The period retailer installed grips are very fine with a small chip near the butt (left panel), otherwise minimal handling marks, crisp carving and highly attractive fiery colors. Mechanically excellent. High condition, documented factory engraved by Helfricht Colt SAAs are few and far between. A true rarity in Colt collecting that you don't want to slip away. This documented Helfricht masterpiece will be difficult to improve upon.