Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3131: U.S. Cavalry Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Exceptional, Documented Henry Nettleton Inspected U.S. Cavalry Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver with Factory Letter and John Kopec Gold Seal Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $45,000

Exceptional, Documented Henry Nettleton Inspected U.S. Cavalry Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver with Factory Letter and John Kopec Gold Seal Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 LC
Barrel: 7 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 679
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 110
Class: Antique

Offered here is a well-documented example of an exceptional U.S. Colt Cavalry Model Revolver inspected by Ordnance Sub-Inspector Henry Nettleton as manufactured in 1878. Per the included factory letter this revolver was sold to the U.S. Government and delivered to the U.S. Government inspector at the Colt plant on July 17, 1878. This was part of a 150 unit shipment. The included John Kopec gold seal letter for this revolver indicates that this revolver was part of a group of Cavalry Models in "near-new condition" which "had been sold by the Springfield Armory to private individuals during the 1920s. We believe that the Armory had located several shipping crates of these unissued revolvers during this time. An actual receipt of one of these transactions is illustrated on the 'dust jacket' of our book, 'Colt Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers'". The receipt is also pictured on page 56 of this book. This receipt is for nos. 48132 (one digit away from this revolver) and 48953. Commenting on the condition of this revolver, Kopec noted in the letter, "The factory blue finish of this revolver remains outstanding." The accompanying R.L. Wilson letter confirms the information found in the factory letter, grip markings and the revolver's "outstanding" condition, calling it "one of the finest known [Nettleton inspected] specimens." Sub-inspector Henry Nettleton used a combination of early and later ordnance inspection procedures and as a result, his inspected Cavalry Models feature his "HN" initials in more locations, including the hammer, than with any other series. His "HN" stamping on the hammer appears on this example. Additional "HN" stampings appear on the frame, trigger guard, barrel, back strap, cylinder, and bottom of the grip. The grip has the date "1878" and the oval "J.E.G" cartouche of Ordnance Inspector Captain John E. Greer on the left side and "HN" cartouche on the right side. "P" proof marks are stamped on the bottom of the barrel and on the side of the cylinder. The top of the barrel has the correct two-line Hartford address with the two lines under the "Co" marking. The left side of the trigger guard has the three-line patent dates followed by "US." The ejector rod has the "donut" head. The assembly number 6003" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate. The full serial number is stamped on the bottom of the frame, trigger guard, and back strap. The partial serial number "8131" is stamped on the cylinder. As Kopec stated in his aforementioned letter, "the ejector tube was not removed during our examination as a precautionary measure."

Rating Definition:

Exceptionally fine. The barrel and ejector rod housing retain 85% original blue finish, the cylinder retains 60% original blue finish, and the grip strap retain 70% original blue finish with the balance thinning to a brown. The frame retains 80% original case colors. The hammer retains 90% plus original case colors. The grip is also very fine with a long scratch on the left side, otherwise some scattered minor handling marks. The cartouches are clear. Mechanically excellent. A well-documented and exceptional Henry Nettleton inspected U.S. Cavalry Model Revolver that will be hard to improve upon. A must have for the serious Colt or U.S. arms collectors.

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