Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 3135: No Number U.S. Artillery Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver

Auction Date: August 28, 2022

Very Scarce Documented "No Number" Black Powder Frame U.S. Artillery Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver Kopec Silver Seal Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $11,000

Very Scarce Documented "No Number" Black Powder Frame U.S. Artillery Model Colt Single Action Army Revolver Kopec Silver Seal Letter

Manufacturer: Colt
Model: Single Action Army
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 45 LC
Barrel: 5 1/2 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 417
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 116
Class: Antique

As explained in the included silver seal letter from Colt Single Action Army authority John Kopec, the Ordnance Department ordered 171 spare parts frames between 1874 and 1891. This revolver's unserialized frame is one of 104 manufactured in 1878-1889. Of the 171 spare parts frame, 33 that have been assembled into complete firearms are known. It is believed these were built from surplus U.S. contract components by Francis Bannerman's company after the Spanish-American War. The cylinder on the revolver is from 1874 and has the small bolt-stops and is also believed to have been a spare parts component and is only marked with "P." The back strap is also from spare parts and has no serial number or inspection marks. The barrel has "45 COLT" on the left, a blade front sight and the address on top, and Rinaldo A. Carr's "RAC" sub-inspection stamp on the bottom. The grip also has a "RAC" stamp on the bottom left. The ejector and trigger guard were used parts rather than unused spare components. The trigger guard is numbered "3232" and has Orville Ainsworth's "A" sub-inspection mark. The revolver it was originally on was issued to Troop L of the 7th Cavalry per National Archives Records as of March 14, 1888. The hammer is from the early 1900s and has the short-coarse knurling. Kopec notes that most of these no number frames do not have the "U.S." marking like this one, but that some do despite the fact that these markings were usually stamped on revolvers during final inspection. "It may have been just a whim of one particular ordnance inspector," notes Kopec. He closes noting, "Although this revolver was never assembled at the Colt factory, it represents a historical segment of significance from the Indian Wars and Spanish-American War periods." An older and shorter letter from 1994 by Kopec is also included noting some of the same information and the discussion of the "non-numbered" Artillery revolvers in his book "Colt Cavalry and Artillery Revolvers...a Continuing Study" with Sterling Fenn. The revolvers are discussed on pages 100-107.

Rating Definition:

Very fine with 90% original blue on the barrel and ejector housing, 75% refurbished blue on the cylinder, 20% blue on the grip frame, 75% factory case colors, very vibrant original colors in the sheltered areas such as the top strap groove, strong original niter blue on the trigger, mostly smooth gray and brown patina on the balance, a few patches of pitting mainly on the ejector housing, mild scratches and marks, and generally fairly light overall wear. The grip is also very fine and has mild handling wear, lower edge wear, a distinct sub-inspection mark, and light scratches. Mechanically excellent. This is a very unique and attractive U.S. Colt Single Action Army Artillery Model Revolver that will add value and interest to any Colt collection.

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