The accompanying factory letter confirms the 4 3/4 inch barrel in .32-20 caliber, nickel plating and pearl stocks with carved steer head motif. The factory letter also states the revolver was sold to Navajo Livestock & Trading Co. (address unavailable) and shipped to Charles Ilfeld Co. (address unavailable but dealer locations in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, New Mexico) on May 17, 1917. The Charles Ilfeld Company ran a large chain of wholesale stores in New Mexico. The Navajo Live Stock and Trading Co. was a successful livestock and trading post opened by influential Navajo political leader Chief Henry Chee Dodge (b. 1857 or 1860 and d. 1947), often known as Chee Dodge or "Mister Interpreter" (Hastlin Adilts'a'ii) along with his partner Stephen Aldrich on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. Chee Dodge was one of the most influential Navajo leaders of the late 19th and early 20th century as a U.S. government appointed head chief of the Navajo and the first chairman of the Navajo Nation tribal council. His linguistic abilities helped him bridge the gap between the Navajo and the U.S. government, and he is credited with help guiding the Navajo Nation back to a path of self-determination and cooperation with the federal government. We have the pleasure of offering in this auction Colt SAA no. 304456 that is attributed as once belonging to Chief Henry Chee Dodge. We also know that SAA no. 334118 is in matching configuration, including the nickel plating, 4 3/4 inch barrel in .32-20 caliber and factory steer head carved pearl stocks, to this revolver as well as also sold to Navajo Live Stock & Trading Co. and shipped to Charles Ilfeld Co. of Albuquerque. This "sister revolver" was shipped in March 1917, just a few months before this SAA. It has been suggested that these factory steer head pearl stocked nickel plated .32-20 caliber SAAs were received by leading Navajo Live Stock & Trading Co. officials. The barrel has the two-line Hartford address on top and "32 WCF" on the left side. The frame has the two-line patent dates followed by a Rampant Colt. The left side of the trigger guard has the Colt factory "VP" triangle proof and the number "1." Matching serial numbers are on the frame, trigger guard and back strap. The Rampant Colt medallion pearl grips feature the highly desirable factory documented relief carved steer head on the right panel. As Colt historian and author R.L. Wilson noted, only "a few" SAAs had factory hand carved steer head motif grips. Provenance: The Doug Ellison Collection
Very fine, retaining 97% period factory quality nickel plating with a series of surface markings on the butt. The grips are very fine with a repaired chip near the bottom (right panel), a few minor handling marks, and crisp carving. Mechanically excellent. An attractive, highly desirable, historic Colt SAA wearing scarce factory documented relief carved steer head pearl grips with an interesting link to Navajo history. A must have for the serious Colt or Western collector.
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