Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3111: Factory Engraved Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Revolver

Auction Date: May 15, 2022

Very Scarce Factory Engraved Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Percussion Revolver with Case

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $10,000 - $18,000

Very Scarce Factory Engraved Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Percussion Revolver with Case

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Baby Dragoon
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 31
Barrel: 4 inch octagon
Finish: blue/casehardened/silver
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 660
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 76
Class: Antique

Only 15,000 Baby Dragoon revolvers were manufactured in 1847-1850, and these revolvers were Colt's first pocket model manufactured at the Hartford factory and evolved into the Model 1849 Pocket which was the most popular of all of the Colt percussion revolvers. Naturally only a small portion of these Baby Dragoons were factory engraved, and they are very difficult to find. Those that do almost never have this level of engraving. The engraving was likely executed by Joseph Delaney and is similar to others attributed to him aside from the greater extent. The engraving on the sides of the frame is nearly identical to other examples. He arrived in the U.S. in 1848 after completing his apprenticeship in Ireland. This revolver was manufactured in 1849 and has extensive early Hartford scroll and border engraving on the barrel, frame, back strap and trigger guard; an animal head design on the hammer seen on other revolvers attributed to Delaney, "-ADDRESS SAML COLT/NEW-YORK CITY-" on top of the barrel, small "PATENT/COLTS" marking on the frame (interesting error), "COLTS/PATENT" on the cylinder which has oval stops like the Colt Walker and First Model Dragoons, a squareback trigger guard marked "Q" on the front left, a varnished walnut grip, and matching serial numbers on the barrel, wedge, arbor pin, cylinder, frame, trigger guard, and back strap. A dot is marked by most of the main serial number locations indicating the revolver was designated for factory engraving. The custom case contains the revolver, an Eley Bros. cap tin, a Colt patent eagle powder flask, brass ball and bullet mold without sprue cutter, some balls and bullets, and a brass loading tool.

Rating Definition:

Very good. 95% plus original silver plating remains on the grip frame and exhibits a nice aged patina. The steel displays mottled gray and brown patina, some light pitting, and generally mild overall wear. The engraving remains mostly crisp throughout. The cylinder scene is faint. The grip is fine and has moderate wear mainly on the lower edges including chips at the heel and toe. Mechanically fine. The relined case and accessories are very good and have mild age and storage related wear including attractive aged patina on the brass accessories. This is definitely a very attractive and early Hartford Colt and a rare example of the early Hartford engraving on a Baby Dragoon.

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