Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3422: First Civilian Colt Model 1892 New Army Revolver

Auction Date: December 5, 2021

Excellent and Historic Documented First Civilian Colt Model 1892 New Army Double Action Revolver, Serial Number 10001 with Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $15,000

Excellent and Historic Documented First Civilian Colt Model 1892 New Army Double Action Revolver, Serial Number 10001 with Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1892
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 38 Long Colt
Barrel: 6 inch round
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 291
Item Interest: Average
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 237
Class: Antique

This is a high condition, unaltered example of a civilian Colt Model 1892 DA Revolver built with U.S. Army inspected parts and is historically significant as being the first serialized civilian Model 1892. The U.S. Army purchased the first 8,000 Model 1892s manufactured by Colt in two contracts in the 1 to 8,000 serial number range. The Model 1892 was adopted by the Army to replace the Colt Single Action Cavalry Model revolver and were the standard U.S. sidearm during the Spanish American War and the Philippine Insurrection until the need for a harder hitting cartridge than the .38 Colt led to the re-introduction of the .45 Colt Single Action Artillery Model revolvers and the development of the Colt Model 1911 Automatic pistol. Only a few hundred of the 8,000 U.S. Model 1892s escaped from being upgraded to Model 1894 configuration, and knowledgeable collectors estimate that around a dozen unaltered revolvers have survived. After completing the Army contract Colt moved forward with commercial production. For some unknown reason Colt skipped the serial numbers in the 8000 to 10000 range and instead started civilian production with serial number 10001. Offered here is that first civilian production Model 1892, no. 10001. Civilian production eventually ran up to about 15000 before a small Navy contract was fulfilled and then production skipped in serial numbers to around 60000. This revolver was built with left over U.S. Army marked parts, a common practice at Colt as the factory had a long history of using surplus military parts to build civilian arms. Also, the revolver has not been altered. As a civilian production arm it would have escaped the callback for the Model 1894 upgrade. The revolver has the high polish blue finish on the barrel, frame and cylinder. The screws, trigger and top surfaces of the hammer are nitre blue, and the sides of the hammer are polished bright. The top of the barrel has the Colt Hartford address above the 1884 and 1888 patent dates. The left side of the barrel is marked "COLT D.A. 38." The underside of the barrel is stamped with a "P" U.S. proofmark, the assembly number "1", and the "RAC" ordnance sub-inspector mark for Rinaldo A. Carr. The assembly number "1" is repeated on the inside of the frame, crane, cylinder latch, and rear cylinder face. An additional "P" is marked on the rear cylinder face. Additional "RAC" marks are found on the rear cylinder face, left edge of the frame and bottom of left grip panel. The cylinder latch is also stamped with a "K" Colt inspection mark. As an Army marked inspected frame, the frame correctly lacks the Rampant Colt that was generally found on civilian examples. Although the “RAC” marking is present on the bottom of the left panel, the grips lack the final inspector mark on the left panel as found on the 8,000 Army contract revolvers. Both grip panels have the number "1216" written in pencil on the back. The accompanying factory letter confirms the 6 inch barrel in .38 caliber, blue finish and "wood" stocks. The letter also states the revolver was shipped to Captain V. McNally, U.S. Ordnance Department (address unavailable) on December 29, 1892. This shipment was for 3 guns. Tradition states that this revolver was found in a wall during the renovation of a Philadelphia home. Provenance: The Milan J. Turk Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent. The barrel and frame each retain 95% original bright high polished blue finish. The grip straps retain 80% thinned original blue. The cylinder retains 75% thinned original blue. There is a series of dings behind the trigger guard. 85% original nitre blue remains on the hammer, trigger and screws. The grips are also excellent with a slight chip at the heel (right panel) slight edge wear and some minor handling marks. Mechanically excellent. This is certainly one of the finest and most historic of the early Colt swing out DA revolvers we have cataloged. Its condition and historical significance of being the first civilian Model 1892 revolver make it unmatched in early Colt DA collecting. A must have for the serious Colt collector.

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