Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 192: Factory Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver

Auction Date: September 10, 2021

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,500

Factory Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1851 Navy
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 36
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened/silver
Grip: antique ivory
Item Views: 794
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 147
Class: Antique

This classic Colt Model 1851 Navy was manufactured in 1856 and engraved by Master Engraver Gustave Young. The engraving is very similar to other Colt revolvers engraved by Young and his shop when they were the primary engraving contractors for Colt in 1850s and 1860s. For example, see Colt Model 1849 Pocket number 180720 from 1860 on page 110 of "The Colt Engraving Book Volume 1" by R.L. Wilson. Young's classic German-American scroll engraving with beaded backgrounds is featured on the rear 3 1/4 inches of the barrel, the sides of the loading lever, all of the frame, the lower portion of the hammer, and on the grip frame. An eagle's head is featured among the scrolls on the left side of the barrel at the loading lever screws, and there are floral accents throughout as well as fan designs. The hammer has a version of the wolf head motif, bordered knurling, and five dots representing five days of engraving. The left side of the frame has the hand inscribed "COLTS/PATENT" marking in a panel among the scrolls that is typical of Young's work, and the crosshatch panels around the serial numbers on the barrel lug and frame are also consistent with his work. The barrel has a brass cone front sight, a small "5" on the left side of the lug, and the "-ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW-YORK CITY-" address but with the a blank space rather than "I" in "CITY." The cylinder has the standard navy roll scene. Matching full or partial serial numbers are found on the loading lever, barrel, frame, trigger guard, back strap, wedge, arbor pin, and cylinder.

Rating Definition:

Very good with 80% of the age darkened original silver plating remaining on the grip frame, natural aged patina on the visible brass, patches of the original vibrant case colors remaining in a few of the protected areas such as the capping cut out, mostly silver-gray patina on the frame as well as the cylinder and loading lever, a slightly darker gray-brown patina on the barrel, patches of light pitting, generally distinct engraving and markings, mostly complete safety pins, and mild overall wear. The grip is also fine and has attractive natural grain and coloration, a thin crack along the left side, and some age cracks in the butt. Mechanically fine. This attractive Colt Model 1851 Navy embellished by legendary Master Engraver Gustave Young will make a great addition to any collection of antique Colts.

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