Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1100: Colt Engraved Presentation Model 1849 Pocket Revolver

Auction Date: August 27, 2022

Incredibly Historic, Well-Documented and Published Cased Deluxe Presentation Factory Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with Samuel Colt Letter Presenting this Revolver to James E. Dodd

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $65,000 - $95,000

Incredibly Historic, Well-Documented and Published Cased Deluxe Presentation Factory Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with Samuel Colt Letter Presenting this Revolver to James E. Dodd

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: 1849
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 31 percussion
Barrel: 5 inch
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: varnished walnut
Item Views: 1012
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 78
Class: Antique

This historic Samuel Colt presentation factory cased and engraved Colt Model 1849, 58142, revolver was manufactured in 1853 and is one of the most interesting and intimately documented Colt firearms presented during Col. Colt's lifetime. As discussed in on page 174 of Magnificent Colts" by Wilson, this revolver passed through multiple generations of the original recipients family, James E. Dodd. Clearly a cherished family heirloom, the revolver, casing and its accessories remain in excellent time capsule like condition but the most remarkable artifact that survived is the hand written letter documenting the presentation to Dodd by Sam Colt, dated September 8, 1853. The letter states: "Dear Sir, With this note, you will please receive, and accept one of my Revolving Pistols, as a slight manifestation of my thanks for your kindness in aiding me to purchase lands to carry out my plans for building an Armory, at same time enlarging and benefiting the city. Trusting that, in event of a necessity arising for use of this arm, it may be found a faithful friend." I remain Sir Very Respy Your Obt Servent Sam Colt James Dodd (1787-1862) was a wealthy resident of Hartford, farmer and community leader with financial interests in the city’s public infrastructure as well as one of the founders of the Farmer's and Mechanics' Bank of Hartford. As explained in the letter, this Model 1849 was Samuel Colt’s expression of gratitude for Dodd assisting him in purchasing land for his South Meadows improvements. By 1855 Colt had built a new factory along the Connecticut River in an area known as the South Meadows. It was here where Colt operated the world’s largest private armory and built Coltsville. Along with engineer-superintendent Elisha Root, Colt implemented progressive industrial ideas such as interchangeable parts that revolutionized the private mass production of firearms. When Colt died in 1862, the company he created had already manufactured some 450,000 arms in 16 different models and went on to produce some of the most popular small arms used during the Civil War and introduced the iconic Single Action Army that helped win the West. Wilson further states "Despite the documenting presentation letter, Colonel Colt did not order that an inscription be engraved on this revolver. Serial no. 58142/. is therefore one of the few presentations from the Colonel that have survived, without an inscription being applied, even though intended and used as a presentation." It is no secret that factory inscriptions and presentations are important and they are documented in a myriad of variations: "with the respects of Colts Pat. Fire Arms Mfg. Co.". "By the workmen", "From C. P. F. A. M Co." "By the employees of". Direct presentations by Samuel Colt are held in even higher regard and also are documented in a number of variations: "From the Inventor", "with compliments of Col Colt", "from S.C." The inscriptions are tattoos for all of time, but their historic intent is more often than not, lost to the ages. We as historians, researchers, writers and collectors marvel at the smallest accoutrement that has stayed in a case or original cardboard box that has survived a century, but to have the original letter from almost 170 years ago is nothing short of astounding, and puts the Dodd 1849 Pocket into truly rarefied air. The revolver features Gustave Young deluxe, relief carved, Germanic scroll engraving on a punch-dot background with scallop and line borders. The sides of the hammer are decorated with a wolf head motif. The impeccably executed scrollwork and borders covers the barrel lug and top flats, sides of the loading lever, frame, hammer, bottom and sides of the trigger guard, and the back strap. The top barrel flat is engraved "SAML COLT" in Old English letters surrounded by flourishes. "COLT'S/PATENT" is hand engraved in a relief banner on the left side of the frame. All of the screws have engraved heads. A punch mark stamped below the serial number on the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard and back strap indicates these components were identified by the factory for engraving or special finish. The revolver has a five-inch, .31 caliber barrel with cone front sight. The five-shot cylinder is roll-engraved with the Stagecoach Holdup scene and "COLT'S PATENT". The barrel and cylinder have the high polish Colt blue finish, the loading lever, frame and hammer are color casehardened and the trigger is fire blued. The brass trigger guard and back strap are silver plated. The one-piece walnut grip has a high polish piano finish. The revolver has a factory mahogany case with five compartments lined with maroon velvet. The case contains: pocket pistol powder flask with fixed charger embossed on both sides with and eagle and shield above "E. PLURIBUS. UNUM." ribbon, L-shaped combination screwdriver/nipple wrench, brass straight leg, double cavity bullet mold stamped "COLT"S/PATENT" across the top, packet of six Hazard's combustible envelope cartridges for Colt pocket pistols, period Colt directions sheet and key. Provenance: James E Dodd and decendants, John S. Maxon, The Robert M. Lee Collection

Rating Definition:

Excellent. A 169 year old time capsule exhibiting 95% of the original blue, color casehardened and silver-plated finish. The revolver appears to be un-fired and shows only very modest handling. The only significant wear is a small area of finish loss with traces of pitting on the edge of the right barrel flat near the muzzle. The cylinder, percussion nipples, frame, hammer well and hammer show no flash pitting. The delicate silver-plated finish on the trigger guard and backstrap is slightly tarnished but 95% intact. The perfectly executed scroll engraving is crisp and deep. The grip remains in excellent condition and retains 98% of the piano finish with minimal handling wear. The factory mahogany case exterior is in very fine condition with a few insignificant handing marks. The case interior in very fine-excellent condition; the maroon velvet lining is clean and bright. The only wear is some compression marks from the revolver muzzle, cylinder and butt, a small rip in the fabric opposite the front sight and a partial break in one compartment partition. The powder flask is excellent and has nearly all the gold plated and brown lacquer finish. The nipple wrench/screw-driver is in good condition with a mottled, silver-gray finish. The bullet mold remains in excellent condition with a good-looking, un-touched, patina and almost no handling wear. The cartridge packet is in very good condition. The rare Samuel Colt presentation letter is professionally framed and matted and remains in very good condition. This is a rare and historic deluxe, factory engraved and cased Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with extremely rare presentation letter from Samuel Colt.

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