This revolver was manufactured in 1855, the same year that famed Master Engraver Gustave Young became the primary engraving contractor for Colt. Herbert Houze in “Colt Factory Engravers of the Nineteenth Century” shows that he arrived in the U.S. with John Marr in New York City first on September 16, 1852, and Young first began engraving for Colt sometime between his second arrival in June 4, 1853, and April 8, 1854, when he first appears in billing records. He was the primary engraving contractor until he left for a return visit to Germany from July 1858 to September 1861. When he returned to Hartford, he was employed at Colt as a “pistolmaker” until establishing his own shop sometime in 1863-1864. He left Hartford for Springfield, Mass., sometime in late 1869 and engraved for Smith & Wesson until his death in 1895. He has long been one of the most iconic American arms engravers. The engraving is in the classic German style that Gustave Young and his fellow German immigrant engravers brought to the U.S. in the early 1850s after training under Ernst Moritz and Gustave Ernst at the Industrial School in Zella, Thuringia, and became the dominant “American style” of engraving into the early 20th century and even forward to today with some gradual changes over time. The engraving is primarily complex scroll patterns with floral accents and beaded backgrounds and covers the rear half of the barrel, the flat sides of the loading lever arm, all of the exterior of the frame, the sides and top of the hammer, the trigger guard bow, and the top and bottom of the back strap. There are ray/fan motifs on the bottom of the barrel lug and on the back strap on the sides and behind the hammer. The left side of the barrel has a dog's head, and the hammer has the wolf head motif. The barrel has the hand inscribed script "Saml Colt" marking, and the frame has "COLTS/PATENT" hand inscribed on the left. There is an odd uneven circle and some shading around the serial numbers on the barrel and frame. The factory "dot" marking used to designate arms selected for engraving is by the lower serial numbers. All of the serial numbers match. The grip has some attractive figure and is finished with a high gloss "piano" varnish. Provenance: The Mac McCroskie Collection
Fine with exceptionally crisp engraving, markings, and cylinder scene; 85% original blue finish on the barrel, 40% original blue finish fading to smooth gray patina on the cylinder, some light pitting on and around the nipples, some small spots of original case colors and otherwise mostly a smooth gray on the casehardened components, 85% plus original silver plating on trigger guard and back strap with minor aged patina, and light overall wear. The grip is very fine and has some flaking of the otherwise high gloss varnish at the top and lower edges, some light marks and scratches, and attractive figure. Mechanically excellent. This is a very attractive and classic factory engraved Colt manufactured early in Gustave Young's illustrious career and featuring his iconic style of scroll engraving. This revolver will definitely add value, beauty, and interest to any collection.
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