Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3144: Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top Revolver

Auction Date: December 5, 2021

Attractive Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top Revolver

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

Attractive Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top Revolver

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1871 1872
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 RF
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch round
Finish: nickel
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 544
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 102
Class: Antique

Offered here is one of the finest professionally restored examples of a Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top Revolver we have had the pleasure of cataloging. Highly prized by collectors for its limited production and significance as the first large frame Colt revolver manufactured specifically for a metallic cartridge, the Model 1871-72 Open Top Revolver is the transition model between the Colt percussion revolvers and solid frame Single Action Army revolver. The production of the Open Top was made possible after the American government refused Rollin White’s request to extend his breech loading revolver patent in 1870. White’s patent was a drastic leap in the progression of firearms development as it allowed for a bored through revolver cylinder to be loaded with cartridges at the rear. Smith & Wesson held exclusive rights to the use of White’s patent, and for every S&W manufactured revolver that used his bored through cylinder patent, White received a 25 cent royalty. White was responsible for defending his patent in court against other manufacturers who infringed upon his breech loading design, and his success in the courts paved the way for S&W to manufacture the first commercially successful revolver to use rimfire cartridges, the Model 1, with near impunity from competitors. S&W followed up the Model 1 with a series of tip-up revolvers that dominated the rimfire market. The expiration of White’s patent signaled the end to S&W’s unyielding domination over the rimfire revolver market. Colt’s response was the Model 1871-72 revolver of which 7,000 were manufactured in 1872 and 1873 at a time when settlers pouring into the American West demanded powerful large caliber sidearms. Their heavy use on the Western frontier and limited production run has made the Model 1871-72 one of the most difficult Colt revolvers to find in any condition. The barrel has the distinctive blade and integral notch sights and "- ADDRESS COL SAML COLT NEW - YORK U.S. AMERICA-" professionally re-stamped on top. The left side of the frame is stamped with the two-line patent dates marking. The cylinder is roll engraved with the naval engagement scene. Matching full serial numbers are on the frame, barrel, trigger guard and back strap. The matching partial serial number "096" is on the cylinder. Fitted with a nicely figured and varnished walnut grip. Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection

Rating Definition:

Very fine as professionally restored, retaining 98% plus replated nickel finish. All of the cylinder scene remains. The refinished grips are also very fine with a few minor handling marks and retaining nearly all of the varnish. Mechanically excellent.

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